Find out why the Queen has given her Royal seal of approval to both British Gin and English wine with a tour of some of Britain’s best distilleries and vineyards.
In the last five years distillery numbers and UK wine production have more than doubled.
The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has launched a new interactive map showing some of Britain’s best distillery and vineyard destinations to help ‘staycationers’ learn more about the art of wine and spirit making.
Last month the Royal Household launched a premium small-batch London dry gin. The spirit is infused with 12 botanicals, several of which are from Buckingham Palace garden, including lemon verbena, hawthorn berries, bay leaves and mulberry leaves.
The Buckingham Palace Gin follows the debut in 2016 of the Queen’s first English sparkling wine, grown on Windsor Great Park, which went on sale to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday and sold out almost immediately.
The WSTA’s digital map has been designed to celebrate the best of homegrown British wine and spirits by recommending UK vineyards and distilleries which offer tours, tastings and places to eat and stay on site.
It includes over 50 stop offs, across the country, where our talented wine makers and distillers are opening their doors to the public sharing the behind the scenes secrets of their craft.
Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said:
“The UK’s growing wine and spirit industries are a real success story, but don’t just take our word for it, even Her Majesty the Queen is offering her royal seal of approval to these great British drinks.
The ginaissance has led to a huge wave of investment in exciting new distillery visitor centres and tours. There are now more English vineyards offering tours, tastings and dining experiences than ever before. To celebrate our great British distillers and wine makers we have launched the UK’s first digital wine and spirit map.
The pandemic means that more people are choosing to enjoy a staycation over the summer and this August Bank Holiday weekend. The WSTA’s interactive map has been designed to encourage people to find out more about the wave of exciting new wine and spirit experiences on their doorsteps.”
A click on the grape icon will take you to an information page on a UK vineyard including their website where details of tours and much more can be found. Click on the spirit bottle for information on distilleries and websites detailing a variety of tours and gin making experiences on offer.
A visit to a vineyard will help visitors understand why English sparkling wine is now rivalling Champagne to such an extent that Taittinger and Pommery Champagne houses have invested in vineyards in the south of England.
Britain now boasts over 763 vineyards, over 260 of which were established in the last 5 years, leading to the planting of over 3 million vines across UK slopes.
Following the combined harvest of 2018 and 2019 Britain produced the equivalent of over 23 million bottles of still and sparkling wine – compared to less than 10 million bottles over the 2015 and 2016 harvests.
Thanks to the gin boom the UK now boasts over 440 distilleries, including 80 new distilleries last year alone. There are now more than double the number of distilleries operating across the country than there were five years ago.
But it’s not just gin tempting a growing number of visitors to the distillery tours, in the last couple of years there has been rapid growth in the number of distillers making English and Welsh whisky.
The “ginnaisance” attracted a whole new audience of people keen to try new spirit experiences meaning investors have been more willing to invest in craft distilleries allowing an English and Welsh whisky market to emerge after lying dormant for more than a century.