Triumph for Cambridge urban winery as Bacchus 2020 goes on sale May 3
Gutter & Stars is set to launch its first wine, the ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ Bacchus 2020, to the public on May 3.
The Chesterton-based urban winery’s debut vintage comes just eight months after opening its doors at Chesterton Mill, off French’s Road, Chesterton.
The ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ Bacchus 2020 is a white wine made from 100 per cent Bacchus grapes sourced from Missing Gate Vineyard near Chelmsford in Essex’s Crouch Valley.
The fruit was picked on September 17 last year and was fermented in oak barrels in the basement of the Grade II-listed windmill less than a mile from the city centre.
It was then aged for five months in oak and stainless steel prior to blending and bottling in spring 2021.
Winemaker Chris Wilson said: “I’m very excited to release the first Gutter & Stars wine and finally have something to show the world. It’s been a busy eight months in the cellar of the ‘winemill’ making this wine, plus the other two wines from the 2020 vintage.
“I can remember very clearly the cold but bright September morning when the Bacchus grapes were picked and the winemaking adventure began in earnest. With this wine, I’ve tried to retain the freshness and aromatic qualities of the Bacchus variety while adding texture and depth by fermenting and partially ageing the wine in American oak barrels.”
Just 400 individually-numbered bottles of Bacchus will be available. They will be on sale on May 3 from the ‘cellar door’ shop at the winery and through the website at £20 per bottle.
“They’ve all been bottled, hand labelled and waxed – with a wax cap – on site,” notes Chris, adding of the ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ component of the name: “I’m a big music fan – and former music journalist – so a big nod to The Stone Roses in the first wine name... music references feature on the other two wines as well.”
And the inaugural bottle might become a collector’s item?
“I hope so,” replies Chris. “The plan is to increase production over the next few years, so we won’t be producing so few bottles again.”
Two more wines from the 2020 vintage will be released later this summer – a Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay – before production begins again in the autumn.
“The Pinot Noir is due in July or August, and the Chardonnay in the autumn. They’re both with grapes from Missing Gate Vineyard.
“We’ll have 1,600 bottles on sale this year across all three wines, and we’re hoping to increase production next year, so there will be between three and four thousand bottles of the 2021 vintage released in 2022.
“At this stage I’m just selling my own wines, but I hope to sell the wines to merchants when there’s more stock available.”
Free delivery is available for all online orders to CB1, CB2, CB3 and CB4 postcodes, and customers can also click and collect if ordering online.
The production of wine is the first activity at Chesterton Mill for 60 years. It was built in 1847 and thrived for more than 100 years on its site just north of the River Cam, producing grain and flour for the city’s bakeries, delivered by horse and cart.
Known locally as French’s Mill after William French, who began milling in 1847, the sails and milling stones of this imposing smock mill turned grain into flour until 1955, when the French family business closed.
Later this year, the winery will launch a series of tasting events and tours where customers can learn about the winemaking process and see first-hand how the wines are made.
“I can’t wait for these wines to see the light of day and for Cambridge residents to visit the winery and taste them,” adds Chris.