Gnina Balchin, 30, a former Plumpton College MSc graduate in oenology and viticulture has set up a new drinks business in Uckfield making English vermouth and ready-made cocktails.
Gina worked at Albourne Estate vineyard. while studying and was offered a permanent job after graduation. She noticed how fast the English wine industry was growing and knew that would yield opportunities.
She said: “I had my lightbulb moment when someone asked me ‘why would anyone make vermouth?’ I found my niche.”
She explained vermouth is an aromatised, fortified wine that must name wormwood as one of its botanicals.
So she used English wine from other wineries that is too flavourful to be English sparkling wine but also doesn't fit with anything else in their range. It’s kept in the circular economy – in the loop – by making vermouth out of it. Hence the company name: ‘In The Loop.’
The drink is flavoured with mainly fresh botanicals they grow themselves or forage for around a solar-powered winery in West Hendall Farm. They were the first to market an ‘All-English vermouth that showcases English wine and work with like-minded producers for a bottled cocktail range including Brighton Gin and Two Drifters Distillery.
Gnina said: “These types of products come about naturally by - in many cases- utilising alternative wine that didn’t quite make the cut or grape pressings. Drinks like these are now popping up. If the momentum behind English wine continues to grow, I see no reason why drinks from another part of the industry shouldn’t grow alongside it.”