Sir Ian Botham OBE has officially launched his own range of wines at Lord’s cricket ground in the UK today.
Speaking to the drinks business just hours ahead of the launch, the English cricketing legend said that the wines were a reflection of his tastes, stressing that he was involved in the sourcing and blending of the new range.
“I hate the term ‘celebrity wine’,” he said, making it clear that this wasn’t a case of just applying a famous name to an existing wine. “Everything I like in wine is in these bottles,” he added.
The inaugural selection, unveiled today in London, comprises varietal Chardonnays, Shirazes and Cabernets across three tiers, all of which hail from Australia.
At the entry-level is the ‘All Rounder’, with a mid-tier range called ‘The Botham Series’, and then, at the top, priced between £35 and £40, is the ‘Sir Ian Botham’ range.
The grapes for the wines come from Adelaide Hills and Margaret River for the Chardonnays, and Barossa and Coonawarra for the Shirazes and Cabernets respectively.
Botham told db that the range would be augmented by Pinot Noir from Central Otago in New Zealand, and, in the future, another Pinot from Mornington Peninsula in Australia – having agreed a partnership with Paringa Estate.
He also said that he would like to add a Malbec from Argentina, a red wine from Spain, and, as previously reported by the drinks business, an English sparkling, possibly using grapes from a producer in Devon.
There will also be a rosé in the range, which Botham said had to be from Provence to please his wife.
The wines have been developed in partnership with Benchmark Drinks, founded earlier this year by former Accolade Wines CEO Paul Schaafsma.
The Botham All-Rounder and The Botham Series wines will be available on general release in the autumn and in the meantime, they can be pre-ordered with exclusive offers, through www.bothamwines.com.
Schaafsma said that the top level tier Sir Ian Botham range will initially be available exclusively through Berry Bros & Rudd in the UK.
A profile on Botham with more information on the new releases will feature in the August issue of the drinks business.