By Jacques Celliers, Ginologist Distiller
Embarking on a personal odyssey through the realms of gin and Shiraz may not be an entirely groundbreaking endeavour, but the magnetic pull of uniting Ginologist Gin with Shiraz grapes from the iconic Franschhoek region felt almost fated. The mysterious air I'm cultivating here is more of a stylistic choice; the truth is, a longtime friendship with an unnamed winemaker made a collaborative venture practically inevitable.
When the minds behind Ginologist convened to craft a distinctive market offering, the notion of a Shiraz Stained Gin swiftly captivated our collective imagination, evolving from a mere idea into a consuming passion. Meanwhile, our research unfolded as we scoured the local and international gin landscape for other endeavours that dared to blend wine and gin, but we found that invariably there was either an overly vinous taste or a near absence of the grape within the gin. We therefore strove to find a genuine blend that showcased the best of both wine and gin.
The journey turned out to be more artisanal than initially anticipated, mirroring the challenges winemakers grapple with each unique vintage. The anticipation of the harvest loomed, prompting contemplation on whether to use whole grapes, partially pressed, or fully pressed. Gin made its way to Franschhoek, grapes journeyed to us, and both parties experimented with steeping time, concentrations, and, of course, botanical combinations to elevate the flavour in a manner befitting both the gin and the Shiraz. Eventually, we crafted a Shiraz Stained Gin that exceeded our expectations when beginning this venture — with over twenty gin botanicals, a Juniper-forward palate, steeped for over three days on pre-pressed grapes – it was a thing of beauty.
The rest, as they say, is now etched in history. The 2022 vintage garnered significant acclaim, positioned as craftsmanship and artisanship at its finest, a cherished libation to be uncorked and relished among the company of treasured friends.
Jacques Celliers – Distiller.