Tucked amongst expansive vineyards in Cognac, France, is the Maison Villevert - a rustic 16th century house taken on by G'Vine founder Jean-Sebastien Robicquet, and now the home of G'Vine's marketing and business operations. The quintessentially French maison now boasts a glistening swimming pool and poolside bar, manicured gardens and charming entertaining spaces, each holding a magnitude of historic items, spirits, books and recipes. It is a veritable museum of gin and spirits, as well as savouring the history and telling the story of G'Vine itself.
Maison Villevert also has an impressive private bar, proudly and extensively stocked with with Jean-Sebastien's product portfolio - from G'Vine's Floraison and Nouaison gins and La Quintinye Vermouths, to Ciroc vodka which is also produced and bottled at G'Vine's distillery.
It is here that Jean-Sebastien is in his element, sharing memories of G'Vine's creation, preparing samples of his products and the constituent distillates that make them, and offering taste comparisons with other products with great pride. Jean-Sebastien asks, 'which would you rather chew - grain or grapes?' as he pours samples of a grain base spirit and his grape base spirit. It's hard not to be wooed by the comparative smoothness and roundness of the grape spirit alongside the grain spirit we're so used to.
A short drive from Maison Villevert is G'vine's distillery and bottling facility in Merpins. It is a large scale, commercial site, and a stark contrast in appearance to the rustic Maison Villevert. However, the appearance is deceptive as the activity inside is divided into many smaller areas and teams, and Jean-Sebastien's passion, personality and high standards run through it and the team there.
The distillery is home to G'Vine's copper pot still named Lily Fleur, which is heated with a steam jacket. The grapes, vine flowers and botanicals are each distilled separately before being blended and redistilled, producing the spirit at 96% ABV before it is reduced with water to 40% for G'Vine Floraison and 43.9% for G'Vine Nouaison. Alongside Lily Fleur are two spaces marked out for future stills, showing both the current popularity of G'Vine and the team's big ambitions.
The bottling area is a mesmerising, mechanical work of art, bringing together bottles, lids, packaging, and the all important gin, with the highest of precision and quality standards. Tantalising numbers of bottles twist and turn they way through the bottling room and robotic machinery, much of which they have entirely built or customised themselves to meet their standards and specific requirements. Neatly stacked boxes of bottles are then ready to be shipped across the globe as G'Vine bring the story and produce of both French gin and grape-based gin to the world.
Find out more about how G'Vine Gin came about, how it is made, the importance of its grape base-spirit, and more stories in our interview with G'Vine founder Jean-Sebastien Robicquet.