You may have been surprised to hear that vineyards across the UK are making some of the finest wines until you found The English Vine, and so you may be doubly surprised to hear that many are also producing excellent English Gin. Yes, you read right, English Gin!
At The English Vine we’re currently experimenting with The Essex Spirits Company on the idea of a English Bacchus Gin made from our Number 1 grape waste. So when we began our research we discovered that we weren't the only ones and other English vineyards dotted across the country are also making the most of their waste too. Here is what we found...
It takes on average four to eight years for an English vineyard to be fruitful enough (pun intended) to take wine from planting to bottle, and so many vineyard owners have turned their heads to additional ways of producing both goods and income from what they already have. Now that is our kind of thinking!
With businesses now having a stronger focus on sustainability and being kinder to our environment, several UK wineries have started to use methods of recycling and reusing surplus grape waste that would otherwise be binned after pressing and using it to produce English gin and other English spirits.
So if you’re in the market for a few bottles of something locally produced that goes great with a can of tonic and slice of lemon, keep reading (because you can’t just drink English Wine all the time!).
One of the English Vine’s favourite Vineyards, Bolney, distills their waste wine and press juice to produce a modern take on the classic, dry English gin. Packed with lemon and fennel, and occasional hints of juniper, it makes the perfect base for a martini (if only we can get James Bond into English gin!).
English Gin isn’t the only other drink being made by the Bolney by-products. 3 years ago Bolney Estate released their own English rosso vermouth. Apparently it’s great as a long drink served with tonic and ice.
We reckon their Bolney Estate Gin is best paired with a bowl full of salty nuts or alongside a cheeseboard to heighten the botanical flavours - you can thank us later!
Named after the chalky cliffs that mark the beginning of the South Downs and border the English Channel. Seven Sisters is a high quality, limited batch English gin from Rathfinny’s vineyards.
A fabulous palette cleanser, this English gin is full of lifted citrus notes of lemon verbena and pear, with a heady aroma of cherry and lavender.
Not only is the Rathfinny Wine Estate known for making world class wine, and now gin, the estate was ranked 2nd best UK vineyard to take an overnight stay at by the National Geographic.
Something a little different, GinKing was created in 2016 when a husband and wife teamed up with leading English Wine Producer Litmus to combine their winemaking skills and distillation technique to produce something never done before.
A unique recipe of wine and juniper-led dry gin blend together to create a ready-to-drink botanically infused fizz. You may be thinking that this pairing sounds, well, not so good. Right? Wrong! Herbal and botanical characteristics of a classic English dry gin compliment the bright and fresh flavours of English wine - and surprisingly well for only 8.5% abv. Well worth checking out!
From the Kent countryside comes an award-winning English Bacchus Gin from another of our favourite English vineyards, Chapel Down.
In the last few years Chapel Down has grown from solely a wine producing vineyard, to producing a variety of English drinks. No, they don't only make gin on top of their delicious wines, they make vodka, beer and even cider.
Even the packaging of this intensely citrus English gin is innovative. The 70cl glass bottle represents the two production processes the spirit goes through; winemaking and distillation. The bottom half of the unique bottle is designed to look like a crystal decanter, while the frosted top half is classic of a wine bottle.
Although Chapel Down has almost 800 acres of vineyards across Kent, Surrey, Essex and Sussex, they crowdfunded a whopping £6.8m this summer to be able to keep up with the demand they saw through lockdown and planted 150 more acres and created a new winery - ready for winter 2023.
Silent Pool's gin is handcrafted in the heart of the Surrey Hills, on the Albury Estate, direct from a beauty spot known as the Silent Pool - a mysterious and beautiful spring-fed lake. The same spot that our most popular English Rose - Albury Vineyard Silent Pool - comes from.
Alex Valsecchi, the estates vineyard manager, is one of the few female vineyard managers in the UK, and has been recognised as a trailblazer in the industry several times.
Full-bodied and rich with layers of lavender and chamomile, grounded with the sweet flavour of local honey, this gin is made with 24 locally sourced botanicals, and water drawn from the Silent Pool.
Ensure to serve it over a glass of ice with a twist of orange to enjoy its flavour in full form.
So there you have it a run down of the English Vineyards also producing some of the finest English Gin! Did we miss any? Let us know your thoughts.