After home brewer Charlie Ruigrok made some beer and rhubarb wine to serve at his wedding, guests enjoyed his handiwork so much, he and wife Gemma turned it into a business.
Witham Wines has just moved to new premises at Withambrook Park, Grantham, and gained approval to sell their wine online.
Previously, the couple, who live at South Witham, were having to drive to Charlie’s dad’s at Spalding, so they could keep ‘riddling’ or turning over the bottles of wine to prevent sediment build-up.
In the four or so years after their wedding, Charlie and Gemma refined their recipe and began selling elderflower sparkling wine and elderflower pressé at food fairs and markets.
The elderflowers come from the Belvoir area and wine ‘must’ is imported from overseas. Using the traditional Champagne method, they make their sparkling wine.
The couple plan extra flavours too, which Charlie says are ‘really exciting.’ A rose rosé and a sparkling ginger wine are among them.
Charlie said: “Our wines will be like craft beer, small batches of different flavours.”
Gemma said: “We will specialise in sparkling wines. They are different and more unique. There is the demand. Think of prosecco.”
The couple plan to become organically certified and make their wines vegan, which means using no animal products.
The Ruigroks still have their day jobs. Charlie works for the Department for International Trade advising exporters on ecommerce. Gemma works for Rutland County Council running its employment service helping people with disabilities.
Last year, they explain, was spent on research and development, this year is about establishment and survival, and next year, hopefully, they will thrive.
After gaining a premises licence from South Kesteven District Council last month, Witham Wines will begin selling its products on Amazon. They will also sell to the trade, farmshops, delis, trade fairs and of course, weddings!
Charlie said: “We will never be a mass product. We want to stay artisan, doing it in small batches.”