Four Pillars Gin expects to crush up to 130 tonnes of Yarra Valley shiraz grapes for the 2020 vintage of its Bloody Shiraz Gin, which is developing a global fanbase.
Four Pillars co-founder and head distiller Cam Mackenzie said Bloody Shiraz Gin now has serious traction as a product, having begun as an experiment in 2015.
“During vintage we happened to get our hands on a small parcel of fruit that had come through from a grower, Rob Dolan, where we were based,” he told the Drinks Adventures podcast.
“It was only about 250 kilos. I de-stemmed it and tipped high proof Rare Dry Gin over it, straight out of the still.
“That alcohol bleeds the colour, the flavour, the sweetness out of the grapes. We let it sit for between six and eight weeks.”
Mackenzie said Four Pillars crushed more than 100 tonnes of grapes for the 2019 vintage of Bloody Shiraz Gin, which is likely to be more than just about any winemaker in the Yarra Valley.
“I actually think it’s probably only De Bortoli that would crush more shiraz than us,” he said.
“I think we are certainly crushing more shiraz than most of the wineries out here. I can’t think of anyone who would crush more than a hundred tons of shiraz for their own use.
“Next year, if I can get my hands on it, we’ll probably do 120, 130 tonnes.”
Tough to replicate
Mackenzie said the uniqueness of Bloody Shiraz Gin is opening doors for Four Pillars, which now has its gin available in 30 different markets globally.
“It’s not something a lot of countries can easily replicate. It’s got a great story to it, it’s not an opportunistic gin that that we’ve made, just to fill a gap,” he said.
“The UK at the moment is a tsunami of gin brands, but they can’t do a shiraz gin. They don’t grow shiraz.
“In a way, I think that’s probably the gin that will open doors for us on the export market.
“The problem for us is going to be making enough of it to do that, because I want to keep it flowing in Australia before it goes anywhere else.
“We’ve got little allocations of it overseas and the reaction’s been amazing – really, really cool.”
Listen to the full interview with Cam Mackenzie in the media player above, or by clicking the icons to your favourite podcast player: