English wine estate Bolney launches first gin

Sussex-based Bolney Wine Estate has entered the gin category with an expression flavoured with hawthorn leaves and fennel and made using grape distillate produced from press juice that was too phenolic to make wine.

The Bolney Estate Gin is flavoured with botanicals including hawthorn leaves, juniper, bay leaf, caraway, cubeb, lemon peel, grain of paradise, fennel and and coriander seed.

A portion of the base spirit was made from grape distillate made from juice from the later press fractions that contained too many polyphenols (including tannins and anthocyanins) to be used in the production of Bolney’s sparkling and still wines.

This is not the first time that the estate has used a by-product of the winemaking process to create another product. In 2018, the estate launched a rosso vermouth, distilled with botanicals grown in the vineyard hedgerows.

Bolney’s gin will retail for £35 per 70cl.

Commenting on the launch, Sam Linter, managing director and head winemaker said: “We’re delighted to announce the launch of our first gin, having mastered wine making we thought it was time we ventured into gin!

“The Bolney Estate Gin has all the attributes to be a huge success, there is a subtlety of flavour which has surprised and delighted all that have tasted the gin so far. Unique and delicious, a fantastic new addition to the Bolney Wine Estate family.”

Linter and her husband Graham are also directors of Foxhole Spirits, a company which operates independently to Bolney and is headed up by Plumpton College graduate James Oag-Cooper.

Foxhole launched in 2016 and works with Bolney and other vineyards across the south east to collect unused grape material in order to make a base spirit used in the production of its gin.

Earlier this year it teamed up with one of the UK’s biggest fruit importers, Richard Hochfeld, to tackle food waste, launching Hyke Gin made from some of the 1.4 million punnets of table grapes thrown out each year.

In a statement supplied to the drinks business, a spokesperson from Bolney said that Foxhole Spirits’ working relationship with Bolney “remains unchanged” following the launch of Bolney’s gin.

“Foxhole will continue to use our unused grape material – along with the unused grape material from other vineyards – to make Foxhole Gin.”

Other English wineries to have launched gins and vermouths include Chapel Down, Albourne, Rathfinny and Albury while GinKing, in its original variant, blends gin and English wine to create a hybrid RTD.

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