The Wine Fair Book is now available to view and download...

With only two weeks to go until our fantastic annual Wine Fair in Petersfield, we are delighted to announce that the Wine Fair Book is now officially available to view.

It is a great opportunity to be able to peruse exactly what we will be uncorking and to see what the brilliant free masterclasses with be this year.
All this so you can kind of plan your day and get excited.
I know we are!
Pre-Fair tickets are still available online and in the shops at £7.50, or alternatively just turn up at the door for a crisp £10. 
See you on Saturday 4th November at Churcher's College!
Doors open at 11am for the thirsty!

General Wine Company Day Out at Danebury Vineyards

The General Wine Company had a little visit to Danebury Vineyard  (family owned boutique vineyards in Stockbridge) on Tuesday.

There is no better place to be when the sun is shining than walking through vineyards, that is our idea of heaven!
— Jose Oldroyd

We have stocked their wines for sometime but have been too busy to get there for a visit. It was definitely worth the wait. There is no better place to be when the sun is shining than walking through vineyards, that is our idea of heaven! We were warmly welcomed by Caroline & Patrick.

Patrick (Vineyard Manager) gave us the guided tour of the vineyards and the cellar. We were then treated to a fabulous tasting of their range. The winner was definitely the Cossack Sparkling wine which was delish! This sparkling wine is made from the same grapes as the second best selling sparkling in France, Cremant D' Alsace (Auxerrois Blanc and Rulander which is the same as Pinot Gris). The ethos at Danebury is not to follow in the same footsteps as other English vineyards, making Champagne style sparkling, but to be a little unique. It must be noted that their still wines were also fantastic. These wines are made from lesser known grape varieties but do not be fooled, they would stand up to any Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay!

Hambledon Wine Festival 2017


The sun was shining on Hambledon vineyard’s very first wine festival on Sunday 6th August. Scores of people had come to join in with the festivities and try some of Hampshire’s best local produce and of course Hambledon’s fantastic Sparkling wines. We were delighted to be a part of the event and were showcasing a range of new world and old world classics. From our Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc to our AT Richardson Aussie Shiraz the wines seemed to be well received. Upon arrival guests were given 2 tokens to try a range of wines from all over the world.

England’s oldest commercial vineyard aimed to “give the community a chance to taste, enjoy and educate themselves about sparkling wine as well as embrace our local produce and enjoy a great family day out.” – the festival certainly delivered just that with numerous tours around the vineyard with Ian Kellet, Hambledon’s Managing Director and Felix the vineyard’s winemaker. Katrina Smith, wine educator at Hambledon also conducted an interesting Pinot Noir wine education workshop which included our Edge Pinot Noir: A rich and fruit driven wine from New Zealand.

Other highlights of the day included a workshop with Joe Wadsack International wine challenge communicator of the year two years running. Music from the Jazz band and the well received Braai by Simply African Food

If you missed the Wine Festival at the vineyard you can still be a part of our very own annual Wine Fair at Churchers college in November, where we will be opening up 200 different wines and inviting winemakers from different corners of the globe to hold masterclasses. Tickets are currently on sale for £7.50 from the Liphook and Petersfield shops or online.

Chalkdown Premium Hampshire Cider arrives with a flourish

Chalkdown is a premium sparkling cider crafted from specially selected apples grown in the south downs. Its delicate apple character and elegant balance make it a refreshing drink that’s perfect as an aperitif or to celebrate any occasion.

It's made from Hampshire apples that are hand-picked and sorted and then gently pressed to ensure the purest expression of fruit. The cider is made slowly using the same 'traditional method' that is used to make fine sparkling wine. On the palate Chalkdown has a delicate apple flavour that combines with a brioche character from the long ageing to create an graceful and refreshing drink that’s perfect as an aperitif or to celebrate any occasion. Chalkdown cider is best served chilled in a flute glass.

Founder, Piotr Nahajski, was nearing the end of his degree course in Wine Production and had just completed a study tour of the Champagne region when he came across an English cider that had undergone secondary bottle fermentation. Putting the two together he envisaged a delicate English cider, low in tannins and phenolics, made from juice that resembled more closely the juice used for fine sparkling wine than for traditional cider. It would be allowed extra long bottle ageing before its release. The result is Chalkdown cider: A cider that has taken 24 months to create from the harvesting of the apples to its release for sale.

The Chalkhill Blue butterfly was chosen for the label of Chalkdown cider for its association with the southern down lands of England where the apples for Chalkdown cider are grown. The butterfly can be found on chalk and limestone hillsides in the summer. In bright sunshine the ground can shimmer with the pale blue of hundreds of Chalkhill Blues, flying inches above the ground, looking for a mate. We hope that its delicate beauty is reflected in our cider.

Volumes are small: just 9,000 bottles per year. The entire process – from selection and sorting of apples to the application of labels on the finished cider- is overseen by the cider maker. The cider is made in one batch each year, starting with the pressing of the apples in the Autumn. Each vintage has its own unique character that reflects the fruit that has gone into the cider. The skill of the cider maker is to adapt to this natural variability – using science and the senses – to create a product that has balance, refinement and elegance.

Specially selected apples are sorted to remove any damaged fruit; then washed, milled and pressed using a traditional-style frame press. The apple juice is left to clarify then racked off and inoculated with yeast and left to ferment in stainless steel tanks. After fermentation the cider is left to rest on its lees before being bottled in the Spring. At bottling a yeast culture and some sugar are added to enable the secondary bottle fermentation. The secondary fermentation generates CO2 which is dissolved in the cider and which is responsible for the fine bubbles of the finished product. After the secondary fermentation is complete the bottles are laid down for 18 months to allow contact between the spent yeast and the cider. The yeast cells go through a process of autophagy and then autolysis, which add new flavour components to the cider and enhance its mouth feel. This is part of what makes Chalkdown special and different.

After the bottle ageing the bottles are riddled to move the expended yeast into the neck of the bottle. The bottle neck is then frozen and the yeast is disgorged from the bottle locked in a plug of ice to leave a clear cider. A small ‘dosage’ is added to create the optimal balance of sweetness and acidity. The bottle is corked and then left again to rest for a few weeks to allow for integration of the dosage. Finally, it’s labeled and packed and ready to ship.


Isle of Wight Distillery - Wight Mermaids Gin

The first and only distilling license has been granted to the Isle of Wight Distillery, based at Rosemary Vineyard. There are no known records or history of distilling on the Island so we are proud to make history. We use local ingredients from locations such as the Southern Coast and even handpick a number of seeds to create our range of spirits.

A take on the classic G&T – Mermaids Gin, La Fee Absinthe, fresh kiwi & fever tree tonic – happy days!

Wight Mermaids Gin uses an infusion of carefully selected botanicals including Juniper Berries, rock samphire that is hand-picked from the Island’s chalk cliffs and Boadicea hops grown at the famous Ventnor Botanic Garden. Along with English coriander seeds, fresh lemon zest, angelica root, liquorish root, orris root, elderflower and grains of paradise.

We use hand-picked ingredients such as Rock Samphire from a secret location on the sunny south side of the Island. All the hops we use are grown on the Island too! We want our spirits to be not only fresh, but to capture the true island spirit! Our Coriander seeds are the first to be commercially grown in England.

Before distilling commences, our botanicals are steeped together for 24 hours to enable all the essential oils in the botanicals to be released. Following this, the spirit is then distilled for a day. The fresh Mermaids Gin is rested for seven days to allow the flavours and aromas to mellow and marry together.