The Evolution of Evolution: Our Regional Sparkling Wine Journey

Brian’s Blog: Pinot Noir

Meet The Team- Vivienne Stevens

Hencote Wines Awarded Silver and Bronze at Decanter World Wine Awards

Vineyard Update – preparing the vines for the upcoming 2020 vintage

The past few weeks have presented a profound change to daily life for everyone across the UK. At Hencote, we have had to close our entire Estate to the public for the first time since our opening, including our restaurant The View, our Accommodation in the Grange and Glamping Village, our wine shop and all of our guided wine tours. Whereas much of our closure was mandated by Government restriction and we can technically still open our shop, we have felt that to fully ensure the safety of the wider public, maintaining a full closure of the Estate is necessary.

Nonetheless, our online wine shop remains open and we are incredibly grateful for all the support we have received through your orders in the past week and we hope that so long as we are unable to welcome you back to the Estate, that you can continue to enjoy our wines from the security of your homes.

Vineyard work in March


Where most of our Estate is closed, the essential work on our vineyard continues. We are now a few short weeks from budburst and the beginning of the 2020 season and our preparations over the winter have hopefully put us in the position for another fantastic year.

Vineyard work is a family affair at Hencote and the whole family have been out over the past few months to assist in pruning and tying each vine by hand, to put them in the best possible shape for start of the season. From all along the cane, new life will burst free in the coming weeks bringing with it green new growth and all the inflorescences which will transform into the delicious, plump grapes that makes our wine.

To help prepare our vines we’ve been carefully tying down the canes in a bow shape along our trellis wires. This allows even spacing between the new shoots which will burst along the canes later this month, signifiying the beginning of the growing season. With this event, known as budburst, comes one of the most crucial and challenging periods of every year – protecting the vines from Spring overnight frosts.

Frost Protection 

As any of you who have been on one of our wine tours will know, protection from Spring frosts is one of the most crucial events in every season’s calendar.


Overnight temperatures in Shrewsbury in April and May can plummet to below zero degrees, usually on evenings with clear skies and little wind or cloud coverage. Extended sub-zero temperatures will damage the young green shoots of the vine causing them to wither and die, leading to a total crop loss on all affected vines.


This where our frost protection equipment comes into action! By carefully monitoring temperatures that will indicate an upcoming frost event, a member of our Hencote wine team will then head out to the vineyard in the early hours of the morning to activate our Frostguard and our Cold Air Drain (pictured below), which act to stimulate air movement throughout the vineyard and raise the overall temperature of the site and to protect our vines.


With the possibility of up to ten frost events every Spring, the prospect of early mornings and overnight shifts really does make vineyard work a labour of love; but when the end result is happy, healthy vines it’s worth every moment.


Throughout this lockdown, we’ll be hoping to keep you entertained and informed through short videos of life in the vineyard and winery and the work that goes into making our wine. Stay tuned to our Instagram and Facebook for more!

Online Wine Shop open – free delivery on every order


Whilst we work on perfecting our 2020 vintage, why not stock up for the weeks ahead with your favourite Hencote wines? We’re now offering mixed cases for you to mix and match your preferred wines and free delivery on all orders nationwide.

Other News – Welcoming a new addition Kali!


In other news, please give a warm welcome to our newest addition to the Hencote team, Kali!

Kali is our 11 week old German Shepherd puppy pictured here on one of her daily vineyard walks. Once the Estate re-opens, we hope you’ll have a chance to meet her!


We sincerely hope you all stay safe and look forward to seeing you back at Hencote again and hopefully soon.


Best wishes from Mark & the whole team at Hencote


What makes a great sparkling wine?

No matter what style of sparkling wine, it is indeed the sparkle that is all-important. The bubble is dissolved carbon dioxide and it is the persistence, intensity and finesse of this that sets the quality of sparkling wine’s effervescence above that of other carbonated beverages.

The best method to achieve a potentially great sparkling wine is through a gentle fermentation of the well made still base wine under pressure in a bottle, allowing carbon dioxide gas as a product from fermentation to slowly infuse into the wine and bring it alive with a lasting elegant vibrancy.

Only the purest juice from the very best grapes can result in the finest wines. They are cellared in cool dark maturation for at least twelve months before being relieved of their yeast and resealed under cork to be made ready for the celebration of life! Below are a couple of things to look for with good sparkling wine.


Sparkling wine comes in a variety of colours including white, gold and pink. These colours can tell us the grape varieties used and even the winemaking technique. But other than colour it doesn’t give too much else away.


When it comes to the aroma the important thing to remember is not to swirl a sparkling wine like you would a still wine. The aromas in a sparkling wine come from the winemaking process and the grapes. These can also be affected by the variety and climate where they are grown and produced. Common aromas include apple, pear and citrus.


The taste is what we’ve all been waiting for so take your time and enjoy it. Finer bubbles will normally signify how much sophistication the wine has and while the aroma can be enjoyable, sparkling wine comes into its own on the palate. 

Your tastebuds are the key to deciphering whether the wine has a sweet or dry taste. By sipping the wine slowly it will oxygenate in your mouth meaning you benefit fully from the overall experience.


Most people think that you need to chill sparkling wine as much as possible but in reality, it should be between 8C and 12C. By adding water to an ice bucket you can drop the temperature even quicker. 

Popping the cork might sound great but it’s ideal if the cork is eased out slowly in a twisting motion. When pouring do so on a slight angle and don’t fill the glass up – less than half will allow those great aromas to be captured.

Online Wine Shop

If you would like to try our award-winning Evolution sparkling wine you can purchase it as a case of 6 or 12 bottles, as well as view our entire range of Hencote wine.

New look online wine shop

Whilst our Estate remains closed to the public our online wine shop is still open and today we have launched our new look online wine shop. Here you will be able to purchase all Hencote wines, including our Lifestyle and Estate range as well as our award-winning sparkling Evolution.

We are now offering free delivery on all purchases to SY1, SY2, SY3, SY4, TF1 and TF3 postcodes!

In order to comply with recent government recommendations on social distancing, we will be carrying out contactless delivery. During checkout, please complete the order note section to indicate where you wish for us to deposit your order and how to contact you to indicate delivery e.g. “Please leave my order on the doorstep and ring my mobile to let me know it’s delivered”.

Recently we have expanded our wine list and will soon be adding other wines from around the world to the online shop.

We hope that you enjoy your online wine experience and if you have any questions or need any help with recommendations then you can contact the Hencote team on [email protected]

Coronavirus Update

Dear Guests of Hencote,

On Monday 16th March, the British Government announced an escalation of ‘social distancing’ measures that strongly advised all members of the public to avoid non-essential social contact that included visiting theatres, pubs and restaurants, amongst other venues.

Whilst this advice fell short of officially mandating the closure of all the above venues, we have considered at great length the risks posed by continuing to operate the business to our staff and to our guests. As such, whilst the official advice has not changed, we do not feel that we can conscionably continue to operate in the existing climate without being able to fully guarantee the health and security of everyone at Hencote.

This has not been an easy decision to make, but where the risks exist that our continuing operation could potentially severely impact the health of our staff and guests, we feel this the morally correct decision to make.

As such, we will be closing the Hencote Estate to the public effective immediately from today 19th March until further notice. We apologise to all our guests who have reservations across our Estate for our restaurant, accommodation or wine tours and hope you will understand the concerns that has led us to make this decision.

For the duration of our closure we will have limited access to our contact number, 01743 298444, however should you wish to get in touch please leave us a voicemail message or email us on [email protected]

We hope that you and your loved ones stay safe and well.

Best wishes,

From Everyone at Hencote

Hencote and The Art of The Amphora

Vineyard and winery technology is always evolving, but traditionally the winemaking process has not changed in over 5000 years.

Wine is made when grapes are harvested and pressed, natural yeast transforms the mixture through the process of fermentation into wine which in turn further develops with maturation.

Ancient method

While there are many techniques used in winemaking, at Hencote we have embraced one ancient method which has allowed us to go back to basics in line with our philosophy of less is more.

The use of terracotta clay amphora as a winemaking vessel precedes the oak barrel and in recent times has not been considered in your conventional methods for making and storing wine but at Hencote we recognise the quality attributes from their use for our premium wines. After the grapes have been carefully sorted and processed our wines complete their fermentation in our amphoras.

What is interesting is that the egg shape of the amphora creates natural turbulence which can be worked with to rather gently guide the creation of the end wine.

Cycle of nature

Our view is that amphorae support the approach of understanding and working with the cycle of nature and takes the winemaker back to the original roots of winemaking – there is no need for modern technology.

Currently, the five amphorae we have contain premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines now resting in maturation from the 2019 harvest. The wine will eventually be disturbed after ten months in preparation for the rigorous bottling process during the last weeks before harvest in September.

Finally, each amphora must be cleaned, so to ensure that their unique individual character is maintained, they only get a thorough hot water rinse, which is a tough job in itself – just ask Gavin the next time you see him!

If you would like a tour of our winery and finish with a tasting of some of our Estate wines then you can email [email protected] or call 01743 298 444 for more information.