Having settled into their new small sustainable winery on a biodynamic vineyard in Wiltshire, Offbeat Wines have released three new wines.
Just 2,000 bottles were released this year, across three styles. Fruit was sourced from small growers who take a considerate approach in the vineyard, avoiding the use of synthetic chemicals and doing most of the work by hand. The journey from grape to glass was also kept as simple as possible, with spontaneous fermentations and nothing added. The wines are all vegan and were not fined or filtered. Keeping sustainability at the core, lightweight bottles and 100% recycled material labels were used, and wines were packaged in cardboard and recycled paper tape.
The vibrant and provocative labels were designed by Stephanie Leighton, who has recently graduated from Manchester School of Art. Stephanie was given the names and asked to forget that these were wines, but to let her imagination run wild. She said “I was absolutely delighted to design the labels for Offbeat and I had so much fun creating them. My aim was to create energetic drawings embodying a sort of buzz that reflected the liveliness and fizziness of the wines.”
Mind Over Matter 2019 is a textural, aromatic pet nat made from a field blend of Siegerrebe and Solaris, with the grapes partially foot trod and naturally settled before being racked into an amphora. The fruit used for this wine was grown by Kathy Archer at her vineyard just outside of Ottery Saint Mary in Devon. Kathy is an Organic grower (uncertified) and eschews the use of pesticides and herbicides entirely, relying on hard work and spending time amongst the vines to produce grapes of extraordinary quality.
Wild Juice Chase 2019 is a crunchy red pet nat that is packed full of bright red fruit with a fine acid line, made from 100% Triomphe d’Alsace from a small plot of 35-year-old vines grown on clay over chalk in the Test Valley, Hampshire. A relaxed, lutte raisonée management approach is adopted and the vines grow with little human manipulation.
Skinny Dip 2018 is an English amber wine made with an eye on the past, that is both thought provoking and robust. Golden, ripe Solaris grapes from Kathy Archer’s Devon vineyard were destemmed into an 800-litre amphora and left to naturally ferment. Following 3 months of maceration, the grape skins were pressed, and the press wine added back to the free run. The wine then rested on lees in stainless steel vat for a further ten months before being bottled via gravity.
Now that the winery is fully set up and ready for the 2020 harvest, Offbeat are planning to increase the range of wine styles for future vintages. Utilising the traditional Coquard basket press and some barrel ageing, future releases will include skin contact whites and traditional method sparkling wines, as well as an early drinking red. It is hoped that volumes produced under the label will increase to 10,000 bottles a year.