Canned English white wine made by students gets co-op listing

Students who vinified their own wine as part of a course at the Royal Agricultural University have been rewarded with a listing in one of the UK’s largest co-operative retailers.

(Photo: Mikal Ludlow/Royal Agricultural University)

The Cotswold Hills dry white wine is harvested at the RAU’s vineyard in Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, with students involved throughout the process from grape to shop shelf.

The 2.6 hectare research vineyard is planted mostly with the German grape variety Ortega, as well as smaller amounts of Bacchus, Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc; a hybrid variety that ripens early and is suited to fairly cool climates. Students have cultivated and hand-harvested at the vineyard since RAU bought the land in 2016. The first vintage was launched two years ago.

A spokesperson told the drinks business that RAU’s vines produce about 15,000 bottles each year.

Buyers from Midcounties, the independent co-operative retailer which is listing the wine, said it “pairs brilliantly with turkey”.

Midcounties will sell the wine in 250ml cans alongside a bottled version, which already retails on RAU’s website for £14.95.

Cotswold Hills, which is named after a social enterprise project providing support for students who want to start-up their own businesses, is now being stocked in 15 local Midcounties Coop, including at their Bourton-on-the-Water branch.

Katy Duke, Head of Enterprise at the RAU said: “Each year students involved in the social enterprise project work hard to get the wine ready for retail both in shops and at events, so it’s a real milestone for a brand like Midcounties to also recognise its quality.”

Patrick Lane, first year Land Management student said: “It is fantastic that we have the Midcounties Co-op as a new outlet. The support that both Cotswold Hills, and English wine in general, is now receiving is extremely exciting!”

Nicola Wildin, buyer at Midcounties Co-op said: “We’re proud to showcase new food and drink entrepreneurs across our region – especially young people – which is why Cotswold Hills was such a good fit for us.

“The branding and the name defines the uniqueness of the brand, culminating in an eye-catching and memorable label. The taste is extremely well balanced, delicious chilled and a perfect accompaniment to a Christmas dinner.

“We believe this is an exciting time for independent, sustainable British producers and farmers resulting in a better customer experience for our shoppers and members.”

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