Grapes that make world-class wines. And now, something else besides.
Sussex one of the longest-established wine regions in England and has been producing top-quality grapes, and world-class still and sparkling wines, since the 1970s.
The grape varieties grown have changed over the decades, hand in hand with winemaking know-how, consumer tastes and the vagaries of the English climate. In the early days, critics scoffed at the very idea of English sparkling wine. Then came the naysayers who said it was impossible to make a red wine in England. Time and numerous international awards have answered them all. Now, the unique soil, aspect, vines are producing not one, but two world-beaters. It's from here that we source the wine, created from by-products, which is destined for transformation in the distillery.
For forty years, in its own quiet way, this corner of Sussex has been a veritable hotbed of revolutionary thinking. A tradition of innovation we’re proud to continue with Foxhole Gin.
Where a waste material becomes a world-beater.
After pressing, the beautiful Sussex grapes are reduced to a pulpy mass of skins, flesh and pips. Known by its French name, marc, it’s a waste product; and every year, the industry threw away literally tonnes of the stuff. Unfortunately, it meant around a third of each harvest’s precious grape juice also ended up on the compost pile. An inglorious fate for a resource so rare and valuable. It just didn’t seem right. We thought: there has to be something better we can do with this. And there is.
Now, instead of just binning it, the marc is sent back for a second pressing. All that lovely, formerly lost juice is carefully collected, fermented and turned into an English Wine. Not that you’ll ever get to drink it: this wine is carefully sourced by us and shipped to the distillery, destined for its unique place at the heart of Foxhole Gin.
What was once simply discarded is reclaimed and repurposed through craft, skill and resourcefulness. Which means that not one, but two great English specialities can be created from these carefully grown grapes. And better still, we’re making a difference.
A blend of skills, experience and artistry as rare as the Gin itself.
Technically, you can make gin in about 48 hours. Which makes you wonder why we need 8,760 – or an entire year - to make a batch of Foxhole Gin. The answer is that most gins are made using grain spirit alone. Ours, on the other hand, includes grape spirit. So we have to factor in a full grape-growing season, harvest and first pressing for winemaking, before we can even start. Then we have to make our own English wine, which doesn’t happen overnight, either.
It takes two days to distil the wine into grape spirit; another two days to blend it with neutral spirit and carefully selected botanicals. Then it’s back to the still for a second time, and the real magic happens.
But because no two grape vintages are the same, our raw material changes from year to year, too. So we work with our distillers to achieve the perfect flavour balance and ensure consistent quality. The result is a smooth, aromatic gin whose flavours subtly change with each new harvest. To be honest, we couldn’t make it any quicker, even if we wanted to. We think you’ll agree it’s definitely worth taking time over.
Without wine, there would be no Foxhole Gin. And we could think of no better homage to the winemaker’s art than to present our product in a Burgundy-style wine bottle. The glass is perfectly clear like Foxhole Gin itself, and sealed with a glass closure under a copper foiled seal.
We developed the Foxhole Gin brand in collaboration with brand design agency Warren Creative who share our love of traditional craftsmanship, and finding clever, elegant answers to questions others don’t even think to ask.
Each bottle is screen printed by hand with a precious metal ink, which is fired at a precise high temperature to turn the ink copper, along with a white ceramic ink to emphasise the detail in the design. The back and sides of the bottle are decorated with a custom illustration of vine leaves, reflecting Foxhole Gin's oenological connections. Our bold, bushy-tailed fox logo appears in all his glory on the front, and in a subtly embossed form on the top of the seal.
We went through numerous iterations before arriving at Foxhole Gin. Had to be done, because it had to be right. We drew inspiration from our headquarters on the narrow, winding Foxhole Lane, which leads to the vineyards that the grapes are sourced from. Sometimes, the correct solution is right there in front of you all along. Rather like Foxhole Gin itself.