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Ed Leahy

BY ED LEAHY

Grape gin claims top prize

New gin made from surplus table grapes at Richard Hochfeld went straight to number one at major drinks awards ceremony

Grape gin claims top prize

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Richard Hochfeld’s new gin product made from surplus table grapes has won gold at a prestigious drinks competition.

The Hyke gin brand picked up top prize in the Contemporary Gin category at the 2019 international Wine and Spirits Competition.

The product was launched by Tesco earlier in the year after fruit supplier Richard Hochfeld teamed up with craft distiller Foxhole Spirits, who came up with a unique way to recycle an estimated 166 million surplus table grapes.

Tesco spirits buyer Andrew Hargreaves said: “We are very proud to be exclusively stocking such a wonderful tasting and high quality gin as Hyke.

“Not only has it been really popular with customers but now judges at the equivalent of the drinks’ industry Oscars have acknowledged its quality too.

“And equally important for us is that it supports our commitment to cut food waste.”

The IWSC judges’ tasting notes describe HYKE as “a delightful gin with superb complexity; a nose of zesty citrus peel and coriander leads onto flavours of vanilla, resinous juniper and cedar wood, and a long complex finish”.

The new gin brand was born as a response to Richard Hochfeld losing the equivalent of 1.4  million punnets of grapes in the packing process each year.

Karen Cleave, technical director at Richard Hochfeld, explained that for packing, grapes are cut and trimmed to fit the punnets, leaving loose grapes and tiny bunches that can’t be sold as fresh. 

“The size of the trade means that these lovely fresh grapes - equivalent to the weight of about 3.5 blue whales - end up as compost, animal feed or in an anaerobic digester," she added.

“Now we’re taking them on a delicious journey which respects the provenance of the grapes and supports our commitment, as one of Tesco’s biggest suppliers, to cut waste.” 

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