Sad news today that one of London's best natural wine bars has closed its doors. Kathyrn O'Mara the owner of Artisan and Vine in Battersea attributes the situation to the recession. According to the wine industry magazine Harpers she said "Sticking to my principles on natural and local wines and food may have been what cost me my business, but changing to a more generic option would have cost us Artisan & Vine."
O'Mara a popular figure in the trade put a great deal into the business, attracting many of the top natural winemakers to her bar and restaurant. I went to a great dinner there with Sicilian winemaker Frank Cornelissen last year and the food (see above) was as good as the wine.
Ironically I was just thinking this week that the natural wine movement was flourishing despite criticism from leading industry figures such as Michel Chapoutier. Antidote just off Carnaby Street in the West End was packed when we ate there the other night and more and more conventional restaurants and merchants seem to be listing organic and biodynamic wines.
Maybe it was the location that did for Artisan & Vine but it can't have helped that the fashionable Soif, sister restaurant to Terroirs and Brawn opened up not that far away.
It's a real shame but I'm sure with her energy, drive and passion Kathryn will go on to do great things elsewhere.