Fitz – The Story

In 2016 we finally decided to make our long‐term dream of making wine into a reality. Does anyone who loves wine not dream of being able to make their passion a profession?

We had been excited about the English wine industry for a long time and had watched the successes of the many talented individuals and businesses who were putting the quality of English wine firmly on the world map.

So we decided to make wine, but what wine should we make, obviously the biggest success story was English sparkling wine which is rivalling and surpassing the most famous of the top French Champagne brands so that seemed a good place to start.

The Charmat Method

But making sparkling wine like they do in Champagne requires a lengthy process of secondary fermentation in the bottle called the traditional method (taking up to 5 years with some of the finest wines) and quite honestly we didn’t have the cash or the patience to go into that and we also wanted to find something different to do – what is the point of trying to imitate already successful products and producers?

So we decided to make the wine differently, using a method of secondary fermentation called the Charmat method. You may not know what this is but you will probably have drunk wine made in this fashion as it is how they make their wines fizzy in Prosecco from Italy.

The Charmat Method of English Winemaking

 A Fruitier, More Approachable Drinking Style

As well as being a quicker way of fermenting the wine, it gives the wines a fresher, more fruity, approachable & easy drinking style which a lot of people enjoy. Not everyone really enjoys the dry, biscuit aromas and flavours of a Champagne style wine and we wanted to produce a uniquely different wine.

So we decided that’s what we were going to do and set about putting together a team of outstandingly talented individuals who could bring this idea to life. We spoke to lots of people in the English wine industry about what we wanted to do and in some cases were surprised to be met with horror and negativity.

English Wine Drinking

Not English Sparkling Wine You Say?

Some quarters of the industry were worried we would come in and upset the marketplace they were creating – never our intention. Our aim was to make a quality sparkling wine that would offer a different style to other English wines. Not everyone enjoys or can afford a French Champagne. There have to be a range of choices for the wine drinker and that will surely help drive awareness of the industry.

Next, we discovered we couldn’t even call our wine ‘English Sparkling Wine’! What, we thought? This can’t be right! Our grapes are grown by English farmers, our wine is produced by an English winemaker in Worthing, Sussex (that was in England last time we checked). In addition to this our wine is definitely sparkling. Strange but the protected origin (PDO) legislation means you can only call your sparkling wine English Sparkling Wine if it is made by the traditional method not in the Charmat method.

Fitz Wine UK

At this point we started to feel a little unwelcome in the industry we wanted to join. We were at a party we definitely hadn’t been invited to. But what is the problem with making a range of different wine styles at different price points? It’s what the consumer wants!

Rulers Breed Rebels

Not ones to be put off by the haters and having already invested heavily in the necessary hi‐tech equipment we would need to make our product, we set about creating a brand.

We decided we wanted to tell our story of entering an industry where we weren’t wanted, where we didn’t fit in, where we were seen to be illegitimate in some way. Our fight for future equality with the established order. We needed to prove ourselves first but will we one day be able to join the royalty and call our sparkling wine English?

FitzRoy is an Anglo‐Norman name originally meaning “son of the king” (from the French Fils de Roi). In many cases it was given to an illegitimate son or daughter of the king to mark their royal parent.

Fitz seemed to fit our story – we have quality parentage; from our English sourced fruit to our State of the art English winery. But we don’t quite fit in and can’t call ourselves one of the family!

So we are Fitz and we want to have fun – that’s the point of life. We make quality sparkling wine but we don’t need to take ourselves too seriously do we?!

Whilst we have the greatest of respect for our contemporaries in the industry we should all take a light hearted view of life and maybe laugh at ourselves once in a while. It’s good for the soul.

Who wants to be a king when you can be a right royal bastard..?

Isn’t it rude and not PC to have the B word on a wine label? We don’t think so, we don’t use it as a derogatory term, as well as its status as a “rude word” (how quaint?) it means a person born of parents not married to each other, an illegitimate child – Fitz.

So there it is that’s what we are about that’s why we are called Fitz and that’s why we have a ‘rude’ word on our label. Most importantly we have created a high quality sparkling wine made in England from English grapes. Who cares what it’s called? Go ahead have fun, enjoy life and drink wine.

Do you own a bar, restaurant or club and are looking for a 100% sparkling wine made in England? We'd love to discuss distribution opportunities with you.

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