Cheers! James’s spritzers show their sparkle

A BRISTOL winemaker has won a TV competition to have one of his products stocked in a major supermarket chain.

James Bayliss-Smith’s success came in the Channel 4 show Aldi’s Next Big Thing, hosted by Anita Rani of Countryfile and Chris Bavin from The One Show.

James, from Montpelier, competed against other food and drink producers last month in an episode of the show with a party theme. He pitched two of his low-alcohol English wine spritzers to the judges, and at their suggestion experimented with a wider range of flavours and clearer packaging.

As a result, his improved cans of yuzu and elderflower and raspberry and pomegranate spritzers were chosen to go on sale in more than 1,000 Aldi stores across the UK.

Julie Ashfield, managing director of buying at Aldi UK, said: “It’s an excellent product, and I know it’s going to sell. James has drawn everything together to give us a spritz that’s going to look wonderful on Aldi’s shelves.”
James, who is also a documentary cameraman and filmmaker, makes his ‘low intervention, natural wines’ from the best English grapes from across the UK, all sustainably packaged in aluminium cans.

The spritzers are made with English wine, Glastonbury spring water and syrups from the Bristol Syrup Company.
James said: “I’m so happy! Who would have thought I would go from making wine in my allotment vineyard to having my product on sale in Aldi.”

James’s business, named Nania’s Vineyard, began when he planted 30 vines on the allotment behind his home. He works with partners in the English and Welsh wine industries to produce ‘natural wines canned for the craft beer generation’. He also brews barrel-fermented kombuchas and until now has sold his products in local independent shops.

The competition is part of Aldi’s ongoing commitment to support British suppliers. Last year, Aldi spent an additional £1.3 billion with British suppliers and growers, and they provide more than three quarters of all items sold in its stores.

The supermarket has also introduced a ‘Best of British’ section to its website.