Port Erin-based winery, Foraging Vintners, launched their newest – the M.A.P. (Manx Apple Port Erin) – on Friday, to coincide with Remembrance Day.
Ian Swindells and MaryBeth Coll, owners of Foraging Vinters, explained: ‘This was a conscious decision as the drink is being released to honour Major Robert Cain – the only Manxman to be awarded the Victoria Cross.’
Major Cain received the Victoria Cross – the most prestigious award of the British Commonwealth honours system – for gallantry at the Battle of Arnhem during the Second World War.
To Australia Ian and American Mary-Beth, Major Cain represents the very best qualities of their adopted home.
Ian says: ‘This island produces extraordinary people: Robert Cain represents the silent achiever – one who knows what he’s accomplished without requiring acknowledgement. To us that’s kind of like the island on so many fronts.’
The drink is created by distilling their very own Benvarrey Apple Wine to create an apple brandy, which is then aged in a former bourbon barrel. The resulting apple brandy is then blended with more of their apple wine to fortify; and fresh apple juice, which sweetens and adds balance; resulting in a delightful, warming burst of zingy freshness that is by turns zesty, sweet, and punchy.
Foraging Vintners team have reserved bottles, hand numbered from 1-500 with the first seven being gifted to the Major’s living family; the Lieutenant Governor; the Chief Minister; King William’s College (where he was a student) and, finally, to the Castletown branch of the British Legion, where he was a member until he died.
Ian said: ‘The Isle of Man has been very kind to us.
‘We want to reflect that in shining a light on what we think makes this island incredible.
‘To think a small island produces individuals to react and step up in adversity is telling of the person, but equally, the community that person is seeking to defend.’
l M.A.P. is available via https://www.foragingvintners.com/ and The Wine Cellar.