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Chapel Down launches first gin and vodka as it targets premium spirits market

By Chris Price

A winemaker has made its first venture into the spirits market using grapes from last year’s harvest.

Chapel Down, which has vineyards in Tenterden, near Blue Bell Hill and in the Weald, has launched a gin and vodka.

It follows the company’s foray into the beer and cider market in 2011 with its Curious Drinks brand. It is building a brewery in Ashford.

Chapel Down has launched Bacchus Gin
Chapel Down has launched Bacchus Gin

Last year, Chapel Down released a 23-year-old English grape brandy, the first to be made from English grapes, which was hailed by leading spirits writer Johnny Ray as “utterly, completely, overwhelmingly, mouth-fillingly delicious”.

Both the Bacchus Gin and Chardonnay Vodka are produced from skins of their grape varieties.

The gin is then infused with juniper, coriander, elderflower, orris, angelica, lavender, orange peel and lemon. It is described as having “aromas of citrus fruits and a herbal finish”.

Josh Donaghay-Spire, head winemaker, said: “We wanted to create the perfect aromatic gin from our distilled Bacchus grapes.

“With delicate aromas of citrus peel, juniper and freshly cut grass it makes the perfect, refreshing English gin and tonic.”

Chapel Down has launched Chardonnay Vodka
Chapel Down has launched Chardonnay Vodka

The vodka has “delicate citrus and floral aromas leading to a smooth, creamy palate”.

Each is packed in a custom-made 70ml glass bottle.

The bottom half reflects a cut-glass crystal decanter, while the frosted top half symbolises the shape of a wine bottle.

Chapel Down managing director Mark Harvey said: ”We see a significant opportunity ahead in super-premium spirits for Chapel Down.

“We have chosen to develop products with a simplicity of style that we think will cut-through the competing noise in these high-growth segments.

“Our winemaker has developed products that faithfully reflect the balance and refreshing taste profile of the grape varietals from which they are made.

“These products are then packaged in an elegant custom-made, cut-glass design.

“After two years in development we are now excited to share these new spirits with the growing congregation of Chapel Down fans.”

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