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.