University’s white wine hits the shelves of leading retailer

05 Dec 2019

An award-winning wine created by the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) has been selected for sale by the Midcounties Co-op, in time for Christmas.

Cotswold Hills dry white wine is harvested at the RAU’s vineyard in Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, with students involved throughout the process from grape to shop shelf. 

Buyers from Midcounties, the UK’s largest independent co-operative, said the wine ‘pairs brilliantly with turkey’ and that it chose the new canned version of the drink because of its sustainability credentials and its stocking-filler size. It will retail alongside a bottled version, which it praised for its branding featuring the famous Cotswolds brown hare drawn by RAU alumnus Sophie Cotton.

The ripe grapes have been handpicked ever since the University took over the tenancy of the 2.6 hectare vineyard in 2016.

Cotswold Hills is a social enterprise project providing support for students who want to start-up their own businesses. The RAU’s Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programme helped the University win the title of Enterprise Learning Provider of the Year at the 2019 Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs (IOEE) awards.

The wine will be sold across five counties - Gloucestershire, Shropshire, Oxfordshire, South Staffordshire and Buckinghamshire - in a total of 15 stores.

Katy Duke, Head of Enterprise at the RAU said: “It’s very exciting to see our Cotswold Hills wine on the shelves of a quality retailer in our region. Each year students involved in the social enterprise project work hard to get the wine ready for retail both in shops and at events, so it’s a real milestone for a brand like Midcounties to also recognise its quality.”

Patrick Lane, 1st year Land Management student said “It is fantastic that we have the Midcounties Co-op as a new outlet. The support that both Cotswold Hills, and English wine in general, is now receiving is extremely exciting!”

Nicola Wildin, Buyer at Midcounties Co-op said: “We’re proud to showcase new food and drink entrepreneurs across our region - especially young people - which is why Cotswold Hills was such a good fit for us.

“The branding and the name defines the uniqueness of the brand, culminating in an eye-catching and memorable label. The taste is extremely well balanced, delicious chilled and a perfect accompaniment to a Christmas dinner.

“We believe this is an exciting time for independent, sustainable British producers and farmers resulting in a better customer experience for our shoppers and members.”

For more information about Cotswold Hills visit