"Doe Eyed Queen" that is....!
When we came across mention of "Doe Eyed Queen" being stocked in one of the most gorgeous coffee shops ever, "Queens of Mayfair" our interest was peaked! We had to reach out and find out more about this new English produced Sparkling Wine. What we discovered was a far more interesting story of a young dynamic and inspired entrepreneur. As we delight in sharing brands and their stories, particularly from British "women in business", we thought we just had to introduce you to Amy Duckett, the Founder of "Doe Eyed Queen".
We hope you enjoy this quick-fire Q&A as much as we did and follow us over on Instagram for a chance to win one of two bottles of this stunning English Sparkling Wine!
So with that, it's over to you Amy...
The Who? We're always curious to find out more about the people/entrepreneurs behind the brand - Could you give us a bit of background about yourself?
After graduating a few years ago with a Masters from the London College of Fashion and an additional degree in Psychology from Bath University I set out to launch a new English sparkling wine collection inspired by the idea of a collaboration between fine wine and fashion. I had always felt there was something connecting fashion with wine because to me winemakers are really artists and designers of wine. The Doe Eyed Queen wines have all been created at my family’s wine estate in the heart of Oxfordshire, where our precision in winemaking has been followed at every stage, it is this attention to detail that I believe has allowed us to create something really special. Since the beginning of the journey, I have been extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to work with a range of talented design teams and influential winemakers across London and Champagne. Thanks to their expertise I truly believe that the Doe Eyed Queen wines we have recently released fully represent the vision I had from the beginning, which was to create a bottle designed for moments of celebration as unique and sophisticated in appearance as it is in flavour.
The When & Why? When was your “ah-ha” moment that led you to start your business or develop and launch your brand? and why?
Growing up in a winemaking family I have always enjoyed trying new wines. This combined with my love for fashion and a desire to always find an excuse to celebrate led to me trying a lot of wines that I would usually select based on the appearance of the bottle. I noticed that it was certainly not just me and that a lot of my friends would also turn up to events with a bottle that they had selected because it was ‘the prettiest’. After bringing some of the picture-perfect bottles to family events it quickly became apparent that when selecting a lifestyle wine in the ‘prettiest bottle’ you often have to compromise on the quality and taste of the wine inside the bottle - my father and the team at the winery certainly did not find the beautifully bottled wines as impressive as my friends did!
This is where the idea came about to create a wine collection that was more than just a pretty label, a collection inspired by a collaboration between fine wine and fashion that blended style with substance, where the wine inside the bottle really had been made just as beautifully and intricately as it appeared on the outside, which was both vegan and sustainably produced. A fine wine that would fit perfectly on the tables inside the beautifully colour co-ordinated and photographable restaurants I had visited during my time at the London College of Fashion!
The What? What is the brand & product all about?
Doe Eyed Queen is a luxury vintage English sparkling wine collection, designed for moments of celebration in bottles pretty and pristine enough to accessorize the tables and bring a sparkle to the room. Our winemaking has been minimalist in style, looking to naturally bring out the complexity and intensity of the flavours and aromas inherent in our grapes, and making our wines suitable for vegans. It is the combination of working with winemaking experts who have paid much attention to detail when creating the wines, alongside being surrounded by friends who really are the target market for the wines – and have been willing to give their honest opinions and feedback throughout the design process – that I believe has enabled us to create a really unique and exciting wine collection.
The How? How have you created the brand & what makes you different...
Sustainability is at the heart of Doe Eyed Queen and our wines are some of the first English wines to be produced inside both a winery and vineyard accredited to the highest levels of sustainability by WineGB. Our vineyards are herbicide-free and have a minimal carbon footprint. Our winemaking philosophy is to intervene as little as possible from grape to glass to create clean, clear wines that are free from additives. We are proud to produce vegan wines and ensure all of our bottles are clearly labelled as vegan on the back. Authenticity has been extremely important from the outset and all of our marketing pictures feature friends of mine who really do love our wines enjoying real moments of celebration with Doe Eyed Queen!
The Where? Where do you see the business and the brand in terms of growth/expansion or product development over the next year or two?
We have some very exciting new partnerships that we will be announcing over the coming months. Doe Eyed Queen is a boutique brand and we have created a limited number of limited edition wines. We only ever use the highest quality juice from our grapes to make our vintage sparkling wines, this allows us to be very selective with our distribution channels and work only with restaurants that we truly believe perfectly fit with our brand. The Doe Eyed Queen wines will never be sold in supermarkets, only in restaurants and luxury retailers. We will also be introducing some new and exclusive vintages over the coming years and hosting some very exciting collaborative events.
Distribution Channels? Where can we get ourselves a few bottles? On-line, in restaurants, retail?
I was keen to launch the brand in Mayfair as this is where I had always envisioned guests enjoying the Doe Eyed Queen wines from the very beginning. Mayfair is home to some of the most chic and iconic dining destinations. The perfectly colour-coordinated and beautifully designed restaurants in this area definitely provided me with inspiration to create a collection of wines as unique and sophisticated in appearance as they are in flavour to appeal to those who love beautiful settings, and enjoy a sense of occasion around dining experiences. You can currently enjoy a glass of Doe Eyed Queen in Hush Mayfair and Queens of Mayfair. We also ship both our single estate 2017 Brut and single estate 2017 Rosé directly from our vineyards in Oxfordshire and you can order these wines from our online shop www.doeeyedqueen.com.
What would be the single best piece of advice you would give your younger self?
Surround yourself with a driven and supportive group of friends! I have realised over the past few years just how important it is to be surrounded by those with who you can bounce ideas off and will always be open to giving you advice. I have been so lucky to have had friends who have supported me in whatever way they can since deciding to launch the brand, from modelling in the Doe Eyed Queen marketing photographs to providing me with completely honest feedback on branding and design ideas and of course celebrating all the amazing moments of the Doe Eyed Queen launch with me. I really do believe it is the combination of working with winemaking experts who have paid great attention to detail when creating the wines, alongside being surrounded by friends who really are the target market for the wines and have been willing to give their honest opinions and feedback throughout the design process, that has enabled us to create a really unique and exciting wine collection.
How do you celebrate a win or a successful business WIN?
Of course with a bottle of Doe Eyed Queen, my family and friends! I will always organise a get-together and create beautiful canapés to pair with our wines, strawberry and matcha macaroons are a favourite of mine to pair with our 2017 Rosé and blinis to pair with our 2017 Brut.
Best book / podcast recommendation for aspiring women entrepreneurs?
Michelle Obama’s book ‘Becoming’ provides such an authentic and honest account from the heart of a really impressive woman, and it includes a letter to her younger self. Michelle talks about how she found her voice and I think her book is a great read for women anywhere in business today.
The Wine Blast podcast is excellent for women wanting to further themselves in the wine industry. Alongside all the interesting features on wine regions and English wine, Susie Barrie MW and Peter Richards MW give really insightful advice on how to establish a career in wine.
There you have it, a new wonderful brand of English Sparkling Wine which we will certainly be trying out as soon as possible. A big thank you to Amy for her time and contagious enthusiasm for her brand - "watch this space"
Be sure to follow us over on Instagram for details of the prize draw and stand a chance of winning a bottle of Doe Eyed Queen!