Growth in the global wine industry shows no signs of slowing down, with one research company predicting it will approach almost half a trillion dollars in size by 2027. English wine producers are becoming a significant contributor to this growth. For this feature, we’re looking at one of the shining lights of English wine production; Blue Aurora and its delicious range of Blueberry wines.
English Wine has been on an absolute tear over the past few years, causing more than a few eyebrows to be raised on faces at some of the historic European wine powerhouses. The main reason it is becoming so well regarded is English wine producers are frequently matching and often bettering the offerings coming from the continent.
One wine producer helping to front the charge is Blue Aurora, a British wine producer based in Oundle, North Northamptonshire. Blue Aurora is based at the family-run Lutton Farm and is the brainchild of brothers James and Stephen Long (below).
Thirty years ago, the farm owners decided on a new direction and changed their focus, becoming a commercial soft fruit farm growing raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries.
Fifteen years later and following what in hindsight was an inspired factfinding trip by Stephen to Poland, the farm decided to embrace blueberry growing, making it one of the first blueberry farms in England. Fast forward to today, and the farm now boasts 45 hectares of polytunnels dedicated to producing only blueberries.
The transition from just growing blueberries to making wine
By 2018, Lutton Farm was producing more than 500 tonnes of blueberries a year. However, not all the blueberries grown on the farm were suitable for supermarket shelves, which left a dilemma; What to do with the blueberries left over? Blueberries that didn’t make the supermarket grade were still delicious and of excellent quality; the only difference was the berries were sometimes a fraction too small or a little too soft.
As many of our readers will know from our recent articles, food wastage is a problem facing the world, and the brothers didn’t want to make it any worse. So, Stephen looked at what the larger blueberry producers in the U.S. were doing, and this is when he discovered blueberry wine.
Later in 2018, the first three tonnes of Lutton Farm frozen blueberries made the journey to a winery for experimentation. After considerable trial and error, the first bottles of blueberry wine and blueberry ice wine were successfully bottled.
The Blue Aurora Blueberry Wine Range
Blue Aurora makes three wines, and all are made from the blueberries grown at the family-run Lutton Farm, which have all been hand-picked by a team of skilled pickers.
Dusk is a medium-dry, medium-bodied blueberry wine with a crisp, fresh and deliciously fruity zing. It is recommended the wine be chilled for 30 minutes before opening to experience it at its very best. Dusk was awarded Bronze at the Northamptonshire Food & Drinks Awards 2020 /21 – Artisan local drink.
Dusk is gluten-free and suitable for vegans, and as Blue Aurora’s lightest blueberry wine, it is perfect for taking the edge off heavy food with its bright acidity and lovely fruit flavours.
- Nose: hedgerow mulberry & blackberry with a delicate hint of violet and rosemary.
- Palate: fresh, clean and bright. The palate is full of dark berries, with the crisp acidity balancing the slight residual sweetness and a subtle herbal aftertaste.
- Finish: long, lingering, flavourful finish with a small kick of tannins.
As the name might suggest, this is an exquisite, more intense, oak infused, beautifully rich and full-bodied medium-dry blueberry wine. It is best served at room temperature; open the bottle 30 minutes before tasting to allow the wine to breathe. Midnight was awarded Bronze at its debut at the IWSC (International Wine & Spirit Competition) 2021 and awarded Bronze at the Northamptonshire Food & Drinks Awards 2020/ 21 – Artisan local drink. The wine is gluten-free and suitable for vegans.
- Nose: ripe cherry and plum with a subtle hint of vanilla and thyme.
- Palate: full-bodied, ripe, rich berries on a bed of vanilla notes and a slight warming spice.
- Finish: Long smooth finish, with a healthy kick of tannin.
It is a beautifully sweet and intensely fruity blueberry wine that delivers a sublime velvety smooth sensation on the tongue and is best chilled for an hour before serving. The Ice Wine was awarded Silver at its debut at the IWSC (International Wine & Spirit Competition) 2021 and Gold at the Northamptonshire Food & Drinks Awards 2020 / 2021 – Artisan local drink. It is gluten-free and suitable for vegans and ideal as an aperitif with sparkling wine or the perfect alternative to a traditional Port or Sherry.
- Nose: dark berries and red fruits with a delicate hint of candied violet and rose petal.
- Palate: velvety smooth and devilishly pure, ripe berry notes reminiscent of kirsch or blueberry jam.
- Finish: the refreshing acidity lifts the sweet finish.
Blueberry Cocktail, anyone?
One of the things we love about Blue Aurora’s Blueberry wine is its amazing colour. The vibrant colour makes it an ideal ingredient for cocktails, and coupled with its delightful taste; it will undoubtedly go down a storm with friends and family. Below are a few ways to introduce your guests to the delicious world of blueberry wine.
The Blueberry Royale Cocktail
- Blue Aurora English Blueberry Ice Wine
- Champagne or sparkling wine of your choice
- Fresh English Blueberries
- Pour a generous glug of Blueberry Ice Wine into the bottom of your Champagne flute, then fill to the top with your favourite sparkling wine.
- Garnish with two or three fresh English blueberries
A Blueberry & Basil Mojito
- 20ml Blue Aurora English Blueberry Ice wine
- 60 ml White rum
- Juice of a lime
- 1 tsp granulated or brown sugar
- Basil leaves
- Mint leaves
- Soda water
- Blueberries to serve
- Muddle the lime juice, sugar, and basil & mint leaves together in a jug, then place the mixture into a tall glass over ice.
- Pour over the rum and the Blue Aurora Blueberry Ice wine and top up with soda water. Add in the rest of the basil & mint leaves, a generous handful of blueberries and give it all a bloomin’ good mix!
Blue Aurora Blueberry Wine – Where and how?
For more information on the farm, place an order, and more information on the range of blueberry wines made at Lutton Farm, visit www.blueaurorawine.co.uk.
As Christmas is rapidly approaching, please note that the last date for Christmas deliveries is the 17th of December. If you’re not sure what to order, Blue Aurora is making things simpler by introducing a mixed case that comprises a bottle of Dusk, Ice and Midnight, details of which are on their website.
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