You’ve never heard of an “urban winery?” That’s because there’s only one in Upstate New York — in Rochester, as it so happens. Living Roots houses a production facility, tasting room and private event space all together at its 1255 University Ave. address.
The building was originally constructed in 1909, with the G.W. Todd Company as its first tenant; the company invented a patented check protecting machine and manufactured it onsite.
Living Roots moved in right before its first harvest in 2017, once Dustin Welch of Passero Associates and Hannah Betts of Lives Styled had worked to re-create the space into a winery. Dropped ceilings and drywall were removed to reveal brick walls, wooden beams and ceilings, and an original fire bell, as well as a couple of old vaults. One of those vaults was transformed into the event area, featuring a striking plant wall assembled with old grape-picking bins.
Owners Sebastian and Colleen Hardy merged Finger Lakes and South Australian cultures in their offerings. They have produced more than 20 varieties of wine so far—and hopefully many more will follow.