It was only a matter of time. A few years ago, New York State relaxed its regulations pertaining to the making of distilled spirits, and this has prompted a statewide flourishing of small, artisanal producers of all manner of strong drink. Now the indefatigable Roman Roth, winemaker at Wölffer Estate Vineyard, has gotten in on the act with a brand new product—Wölffer “Pink” Gin. It will go on sale at the winery on September 1.
Roth jokes that everything he touches turns pink, and, like Wölffer’s celebrated line of top-selling rosés, the gin gets its pinkish hue from grape skins. But the rosé connection doesn’t stop there. Wölffer “Pink” Gin is actually made by distilling Wölffer rosé.
“Using our rosé wine as the base gives us a clear advantage over grain-based gins,” says Roth. “The aroma is much more playful and fruit driven.” Since the vast majority of gin is made using grain, this gives Wölffer “Pink” Gin an advantage over almost every gin out there. Following the distilling process, the gin is primarily flavored with handpicked juniper berries from the bushes right in front of the winery building, with added notes of anise, fennel, coriander, cumin, cardamom and fresh mint.
With a small, German-made still and a focus on flavor, Roth is aiming for quality over quantity. “Because distilling isn’t our main business, we can afford to distill at a slow pace and use only the purest and best alcohol.” The gin comes in a beautifully designed bottle that is of a piece with Wölffer’s attractive “Summer in a Bottle” series of wines, this one showing a grape arbor to remind drinkers of the unusual base used for this distinctive gin.