It began with a love story. Gemma and Charlie met, fell in love, and produced the wine and beer for their own wedding party. The response from their guests was so positive that they decided to turn Charlie’s hobby into a business. In April 2017, at Melton Mowbray Cheese Fair, they sold the first bottle of their Elderflower Wine – and Witham Wines was born.
They currently produce two alcoholic drinks – Elderflower Presse and Elderflower Wine. Do not expect anything resembling the ubiquitous sticky cordials. These drinks are a world apart. The presse is made by fermenting elderflower infusion and is a gently bubbly, fresh, crisp and oh-so-refreshing drink, with a hint of elderflower – at 7% ABV it is perfect for a summer picnic or to quaff in a pub garden.
The Elderflower Wine offers far more wine than elderflower, and is a real alternative to a decent bottle of fizz. Italian wine must is mixed with an elderflower infusion (picked and made by Charlie), and this is turned into a sparkling wine using the traditional method – similar to the process used to make Champagne. The wine is then stored in bottles, kept upside-down and “riddled”, carefully turning them to loosen the sediment which form during the second fermentation. It is this in-bottle fermentation that gives the wine its depth of flavour. It has a soft sparkle and just a hint of elderflower, which keeps it well balanced and fresh rather than overly floral. At 13% ABV, this is a proper drink, to be enjoyed alongside a bowl of strawberries as an aperitif or even with a summer dessert. And we could envisage plenty of cocktail opportunities too.
Passionate about quality, Gemma and Charlie have invested hours in finding the right grape varieties and style for the wine base, as well as sourcing and picking only the best elderflower heads and perfecting the balance of flavours. And this attention to detail shows.
Based outside Grantham, Gemma and Charlie sell their products at events around the country and on their website. They also sell to local pubs, restaurants and shops including The Olive Branch in Clipsham, Rutland – but we predict availability will increase as more people discover these fantastic fizzes. And then we can all live happily ever after.
By Anna Forgaard, regional editor
10% off on website orders using the code GOODFOOD, or show your membership card at the Witham Wines stand at events to get the discount