Meet the Co-Founder of a new English Wine whose mission is to become the World's Best Rosé
This week Elisha Rai of Folc tells us more about her multi-award-winning English Rosé and why it's the 'Idris Elba' of the wine world.
With a mission to shake up and diversify the wine industry, Elisha, alongside her fiancé Tom Cannon flung themselves into wine production during a global pandemic and since then have become the highest-ranking still English rosé in the UK.
Folc, which comes from the Old English noun for tribe and family, is a refreshingly crisp rosé and although we tend to think of rosé as a summer tipple, it's extremely versatile and incredibly food-friendly. Here, Elisha tells us more about her journey into wine production and why Folc deserves a place at your table this Christmas...
Tell us a bit more about yourself?
I'm a lawyer by trade but it soon became clear to me that I didn’t want to wait until my late 40s/50s to really start living my life in the way I wanted with the happiness, sense of achievement and recognition I desired, whilst doing something that was truly meaningful to me. I started exploring ways that I could change my working future then and there. My family are from India and Kenya and I’ve had entrepreneur spirit and hard work instilled in me from a young age so the most difficult part was really deciding what I wanted to do with my life rather than the work itself!
How did Folc come to be?
My partner and I had always wanted to start our own business and could see the amazing things that were happening in the English sparkling wine world. We decided to run a blind tasting test to try classic French rosés with English rosé wines around 5 years ago. Even at that time when there were relatively few English still wines we knew we were onto a winner when the English wine was the resounding favourite again and again. That was the lightbulb moment for us where we knew we had to give it a go-to to create a product that we knew customers would want and enjoy, and really represent the best of English wine!
Is it true Rosé is just a summer drink?
Absolutely not! I always feel like people are doing themselves an injustice by not enjoying rosé all year round! For me it is summer in a glass so why not take that feeling with you into the drizzle of autumn, depths of winter chill and when the flowers start blooming again in spring. There are also lots of different styles of rosé wine so you can always find one to suit your mood or food pairing as the season's change.
The fruit flavours in rosé make it especially great for pairing with rich food and a match made in heaven for Christmas go-to's such as smoked salmon & cream cheese blinis, turkey & pigs in blankets or pavlova with strawberries and cream.
What pros does the British weather have for growing wine?
The British weather is notoriously temperamental (did we even have a summer this year?!) but with global warming, our average temperature is rising and is almost identical to that of the champagne region in France which means certain grape varieties, with the right soil and geographical location can thrive here. There’s a reason why Kent is called the Wine Garden of England and why French champagne producers are purchasing vineyard sites in the SE of England too!
You describe your wine as 'made with a modern mindset'. What's the inspiration behind this? It’s really to reflect the fact that the average wine consumer has moved on from the somewhat stuffy and archaic image we have of the wine world. They are much more educated in their choices, have quality and sustainability at the forefront of their minds and want to feel comfortable and included when buying and sharing wine. We wanted Folc to represent this, a wine that brings people together rather than shutting them out.
Your proudest achievement?
Our first gold medal for the 2020 vintage rosé. It was the moment that we really realised that we were producing one of the highest quality English rosés out there and that the sky was the limit!
If you could describe your wine as a person who would he/she be?
Idris Elba - a classic English gentleman but with an understated personality and brilliance that will knock your socks off if you take the time to enjoy it!
What's it like working as a couple?
Communication is key! And the right kind of communication at that. Tom and I are very fortunate to have a great working relationship where we understand where each other’s strengths are and let that person flourish in those areas without wanting to micromanage. The difficulty comes when there is no distinction between work and home so we find ourselves having to set a curfew for when we become Elisha & Tom as a couple again, and Elisha & Tom the co-founders don’t meet again until the next morning!
We see sustainability is big at Folc, what does this look like?
Every part of the production process for Folc is done as sustainably as possible. Our grapes are located close to the winery making their carbon footprint low, our winery is accredited with the WineGB sustainability scheme meaning they are audited every 3 years to ensure that we are producing wine as sustainable as possible, e.g. energy use, water wastage, production efficiencies. Our bottle labels are also made from recycled paper, our cork is made from sugar cane which is actually carbon negative and all our packaging is either recyclable or recycled itself.
To be the best English rosé around the world.
If you've followed us for a while now you know we love to shout about the success of others, and it's safe to say Folc is taking the wine industry by storm. Visit www.drinkfolc.com to order a bottle just in time for Christmas. You'd better be quick though as they are down to their last 100 bottles until the next vintage release in April 2023.
Here's to feeling Festive as Folc!
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