Conceived in a Vineyard, Born in a Barn – Pt.1

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

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