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The story behind the making of Vineyard Gin: HOW we do it.

Last time we ended on a real cliff-hanger. You were left thinking: “I know why they make Vineyard Gin, but I just can’t wait to find out how they make it…”. It's time to put you out of your misery.

As with most things Rude, it all starts with wine. Our decades of work in the wine industry have introduced us to an endless number of genius winemakers and more recently, with the explosion of the English wine scene, we’ve been able to gain access to high-quality excess wine from our very own shores. The wine that makes its way into Vineyard Gin is selected by our own winemaker and friend, Eric Monnin.

Meanwhile, in his breezy Essex barn Dr John Walters – you remember John, right? – creates a ‘neutral’ spirit from scratch. Rather than using grain, John chooses to make his scratch spirit from East Anglian sugar beet sugars due to the unique, yet subtle flavour it produces in the distillate. We’ve had the privilege of tasting this vodka-like spirit straight off the stills and can vouch for its deliciousness! As with everything that John distils, he’s very particular about the cutting of the heads and tails, meaning that even the foundations of our gin are of the highest possible quality.

Then, just like on TV, these two drink-makers meet on a park bench somewhere and Eric discreetly hands John a briefcase of wine, gets up and leaves. Really…! The English wine and scratch spirit are blended together to give us the unique base for Vineyard Gin. It’s at this point that the two worlds of winemaker and distiller become one.

Of course, every gin needs botanicals. Ours are hand-selected by one of the finest palates we’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting: Samantha Bailey. We wanted Vineyard Gin to taste like a gin – no additional flavours, colours or gimmicks – it just had to be a really good one! With that in mind, Samantha devised a compote of juniper, mandarin flesh, cardamom, peel of clementine, and lemon zest to add to our wine and scratch spirit base.

Rather than more conventional compounding methods (basket or bathtub), our botanicals are distilled into the gin. This means they’re heated up inside the still along with the base spirit to give us a greater extraction of flavour and mouthfeel. It’s not the easiest way to make a gin, but all other routes were unsatisfactory to us. John again diligently cuts the heads and tails from the second distillation. What’s left, drizzling slowly from the still, is a product that contains the botanicals’ natural oils, packed full of flavour and texture.

All that’s left is to cut the gin to 41% ABV as it’s the ‘sweet spot’ at which we felt this particular gin, with its specific botanical set, happened to ‘sing’ best. We then stick it in a bottle, label it and cross our fingers that someone will want to buy it.

Please buy it

Alright, that’s it. You had the ‘why’, we’ve just given you the ‘how’. Thanks for reading this slightly lengthy post, feel free to get in touch if you’ve got any questions or fancy a booze-related chin wag. See you next time.

RM x

The story behind the making of Vineyard Gin

Back before we started Rude Mechanicals, we were winos. To all intents and purposes, we still are – not in an unhealthy way, but in the sense that we adore fermented grape juice and the all the joy that comes with a good glass of it. But, clearly, there’s more to drinks than wine. We’d drunk plenty of it, but never actually made any. So, fully aware that for far too long we’d been ignoring the world of brews and spirits, we made it a minor focus to experiment in the production of other drinkable things.

First up: gin.

Now, branching out is great, but it’s important not to lose who you are. For us, that meant we set ourselves an unreasonably high bar for how good this gin had to be. For 40 years we had prided ourselves on the standard of wine we were able to produce, by squeezing out every last drop of quality for the best possible value. We weren’t about to change that.

Unfortunately, between us we had a grand total of zero hours of distilling experience, so we were off to a fine start! The choices were, therefore, give up and stick to what we know, muddle our way through and see how far we get, or find someone who knows what they’re doing to help us.

Here’s where we get to what makes Rude Mechanicals what it is: collaboration.

In an age that’s so keen to celebrate the individual, collective efforts seem to some to be a less sexy proposition. But not us. Partly out of necessity - and certainly because we believe the combined expertise of multiple drink makers has the potential to make genuinely better drinks – we were keen to find a partner. Someone who was an expert, yes, but also someone who shared our passion for ‘well-madeness’.

Enter stage left, Dr John Walters.

We first came across John at English Spirit around 10 years ago. He was exactly our kind of drink-maker: an expert, producing mind-blowing spirits in a breezy old barn in the Essex countryside, and he was just the right amount of a crackpot to make the whole experience a blast. Back then, the prospect of us making a gin together wasn’t on the cards at all. But now, when we were in search of someone to hold our hand as we jumped headfirst into something new, he was the right man to call.

With our access to English wine and some of the finest palates in the wine world, along with John’s ability to masterfully manage the distillation process to produce super smooth, highly finessed spirits, it was a winning combination. As for the nitty-gritty technical info of how Vineyard Gin is brought to life, we’ll save that for Part 2. For now, think of this as the why. We’ve already rambled on for too long.

So that’s it. We’re going to leave you on the edge of your seats wondering what possible kind of distillation wizardry goes on inside that breezy barn in Essex… come back next week to find out. Until then, if you’re interested in giving Vineyard Gin a taste, head over to the product page for more info and check out our independent stockists around the country.

RM x

All blogs have to start somewhere, and this is where we've chosen to start ours.

If you have a read around the website you'll see pretty quickly that we talk a lot about 'well-madeness'. Of course, it's completely unhelpful as it doesn't really mean anything. Except it does.

Things can be 'well-made'. The dictionary defines it as "skillfully put together". But, for us, 'well-madeness' - the noun - goes further.

It's a state of mind. A way of working. A code.

Rude Mechanicals is born out of a deep passion for 'well-madeness'. When you meet people who dedicate their lives to their craft - those who diligently go to work every day to produce the finest possible products - it's difficult not to be awestruck. When you see, feel, smell and taste perfection, there's something present there that goes beyond mere skillful assembly. There's the dedication, the hours of practice, the obsession, the relentless pursuit of better, all of which is hard to define but impossible to ignore.

Now, before we're accused of making grandiose claims about what we're doing here, we should reiterate this is simply what gets the fire in our bellies going. It's this almost

mythical dream of 'well-madeness' that inspires us. All we can do is to pick the right partners for each of our products, maintain a scrupulous attention to detail, and cut no corners as we go about our work producing drinks we can be proud of. Everything we do is a collaboration so this will all be a joint effort. Right now we're at the very beginning of our journey. We hope you'll keep checking in on us to see how we're getting on.

RM x

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