Gary Barlow launches organic wine range from Spain
Take That frontman Gary Barlow is the latest celebrity to enter the wine world, having launched an organic wine range from Spain that hits the shelves next week.
Called Gary Barlow Organic, the range includes a red and a white made from grapes grown in certified organic plots in Castilla planted with old, low-yielding, dry-farmed bush vines.
Barlow partnered with celebrity wine supremo Paul Schaafsma of Benchmark Drinks on the project, who counts Kylie Minogue and Sir Ian Botham’s wine ranges among his success stories.
The range, which is due to go on sale at 460 Morrisons stores in the UK on 11 October priced at £8 a bottle, was made in collaboration with Peninsula Viticultores, run by Masters of Wine, Sam Harrop and Andreas Kubach.
Specialising in wine production and marketing, the company strives to create clean, contemporary wines with a sense of place that appeal to consumers.
The white is a blend of Verdejo and Viura from the 2020 vintage. Fermented in stainless steel, it spent two months on its lees before bottling. The result is a “zesty, refreshing, white with aromas of lime, pear and anise”.
Gary Barlow Organic Red, meanwhile, is a blend of 2020 Tempranillo and Syrah that doesn’t see oak to allow the purity of fruit to shine through. Juicy and fruit-driven, it offers notes of “wild berries, rosemary and a hint of chocolate”.
According to Harrop, the medium-bodied red displays “beautiful balance between the fruit concentration, fresh acidity and fine tannins”, making it a versatile food wine.
Speaking exclusively to the drinks business, Barlow revealed that launching a wine brand is an ambition he’d been turning over in his head for years.
He developed a taste for wine in his mid-twenties, when a friend opened his eyes to the delights of Bordeaux. Keen to learn more, he started buying claret from Berry Bros. & Rudd and attending its legendary lunches.
“When I first got into wine I only drank French and didn’t entertain the idea of anything else, but I fell in love with Italian wine while on holiday there, and I’ll try anything now,” he told db.
When it came to his own wine, Barlow knew his reputation would be on the line if the liquid inside the bottle didn’t cut the mustard. “We’re at this point where everyone partners with everything, it’s the norm now, so it comes down to who you want to be partnered with and what you want to be remembered for,” he said.
“Wine is part of growing up and shared experiences. Where you’ve travelled informs your palate and that’s translated into the wines I’ve created,” he added.
Barlow and Schaafsma struck upon Spain for the range after an extensive blind tasting of dozens of samples of the best-selling wine brands in the UK in which drops from Spain came out on top.
“We tasted through a broad spectrum of wines in the £8-£10 bracket. Less than 2% of wine sold in the UK off-trade is over £10 a bottle, so to be relevant to our audience we needed to be looking at that price range,” Schaafsma told db.
Once the wines had been crafted, Barlow was presented with three iterations on the red and white and had the final say over which blend made it into the bottle.
“The blending session was exciting,” Barlow told db. “I’d like to think that when people think of me they think of quality, so when they drink my wine it’s got to taste good. It was really interesting comparing the wines side by side – I was surprised by how different they tasted from having had just a small percentage change in the blend.
“Choosing the red was a no-brainer, as it was the wine that really stood out in the line-up as the most delicious – it’s a lovely lunchtime red that you can have a couple of glasses of without feeling too heavy. It’s fresh and vibrant.”
As well as choosing the final blend, Barlow also created the label-free bottle design featuring piano keys, including the G and B keys around the neck. With the range Barlow and Schaafsma are on a mission to make organic wine accessible to everyday consumers.
“When it became an option to make organic wines I knew we should go for it. Being organic doesn’t take anything away from the wines when it comes to the taste, which is the danger. I was really pleased that we could go down the organic route,” Barlow said.
Schaafsma has already secured his organic grape supply for future vintages with the view of expanding production in line with demand, and Barlow is keen to expand the range beyond wine to embrace spirits, starting with an English gin.
The full interview with Barlow appears in the October issue of the drinks business.