Annual Grape Harvest

Our second annual grape harvest has begun!

Always a time of excitement and a little trepidation. This year our Hencote Estate General Manager Mark Stevens and Winemaker Gavin Patterson have been watching the weather forecasts and gauging the grapes for the perfect moment to pick for optimum flavour.

Early signs indicate that although yields are down from our bumper first-year harvest last year due to the hot extended summer sunshine, this years’ flavour notes promises intense and balanced aromas.

Harvest Pickers Wanted: Fancy joining in the fun of gathering the ripe grapes and helping the team process to pressing in our winery?

Volunteers are sought to share in this unique ‘hands-on’ experience. Your day includes:

  • Arrival for 8am start
  • Instructions on picking and safety form our vineyard team
  • Manually pickling each bunch of grapes off the vines and carefully loading to the trailers, who will transport them to the winery.
  • Mid-Morning Break: Coffee/Tea & snacks.
  • Continue picking.
  • Hearty Lunch
  • Finish. Rest!
    DATES confirmed weekly due to weather. Please enquire below.


    This year we will be rewarding the most prolific pickers throughout the season.

    1st Prize: Invite for two to our first ‘Hencote Estate Red Wine’ launch in November.
    Annual Membership for one to our ‘Lifestyle’ Wine Club. (RRP £95)

    2nd Prize: ‘Invite for two to our first ‘Hencote Estate Red Wine’ launch in November, plus 3 bottles of lifestyle wine.

    3rd Prize: x 3 bottles of ‘Lifestyle’ wine.

    Rewarded to those who pick the most, so the more you pick, on the more days the more chance of winning!

    Don’t forget to register your details with us!

    Enquire Here

    NOTE: This is a physical job on a working farm. Sensible outdoor clothing must be worn, including waterproofs and sturdy shoes. Safety advice provided. All persons pick at their own risk on a purely voluntary basis. Dates and details subject to change.

Our First Winemaker’s Blog

Welcome to the Hencote Vineyard blog.

Our vineyard has already in its relatively new life had some incredible moments and following the release of our first three wines from the 2018 vintage this year we felt it was the perfect time to start sharing with your our stories from the vineyard.

We will be doing regular posts about the Hencote vineyard and our wine journey.  For this first blog post though it seemed the ideal opportunity to say Hello to you with an introduction to our winemaking team at Hencote and in particular our winemaker Gavin….

Gavin Patterson, who hails from Zimbabwe started his wine career back in 1988 and has had an illustrious career of over 30 years.  We managed to grab him for a quick chat out on the vineyard to ask him about his time working in the wine industry and at Hencote.

When did you first start working in the wine industry?

I was brought up in a Zimbabwean farming family and wine was always enjoyed at evening meals so I suppose it was culturally ingrained in me. It, therefore, felt like a natural step for me as soon as I left school in 1988 to take up the opportunity to do a Winemaking Apprenticeship in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

I completed my studies and returned to Zimbabwe in 1991 where I reclaimed an old vineyard called Green Valley which had originally been planted by Italians in the 1960s but now needed a total regeneration.  This wonderful site became a perfect base for farming our tropical vineyard and we also made wine on site for a wine and spirits wholesaler.  Over 13 years our production grew from the equivalent of 200 000 bottles to 1.6 million bottles for the national market.

So when was it that you were convinced of working with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay?

Growing fine wine remained my dream and I travelled to California and later Burgundy, the heartland of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, to gain further experience. It became clear that it was with these two varieties that I wanted to dedicate my career.

When and how did you end up emigrating to South Africa and settling in the Western Cape?

There came a point in Zimbabwe where it was impossible to provide a secure future for my family and we packed our bags and left for South Africa.

I worked as a manager and winemaker in the Hemel-en-Aarde area along the south coast of the Western Cape at Sumaridge Estate. The area is internationally renowned for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir primarily influenced by cold sea breezes channelled by Valley hillsides where vineyards have their roots deep in clay shale, decomposed granite and sandstone soils.

What is it that you like so much about these two varieties?

For me, personally it starts with the taste of these two varieties; there is an elegance, poise, grace, purity, focus, texture and finesse that comes from these grapes.  Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are referred to variously as the winemakers grape, primaeval and the heartbreak grape which I find intriguing and fascinating. The journey of discovery in growing and making these wines has always been and continues to be extremely rewarding…..I live this every day, what a pleasure!

Recently you seem to have altered course in the way you make these wines. Tell us about that.

Yes, many winemakers hanker after making a wine label of their own and a couple of years ago I finally realised this when I set up my own small side-line brand – Stonebird. I made two vintages in South Africa; a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir in Italian terracotta amphora.  Using terracotta for me in the process is a true definition of site and man and it felt like the most honest expression of that – the what, where, who and why for wine making.

My life journey has now brought me to Hencote.  I have of course brought my terracotta amphorae – known to all as The Ladies – with me.  The terrain here offers a cool viticultural frontier and working with the estate grown Chardonnay and Pinot Noir I see as the greatest suitability to apply what I continue to learn with amphorae.

Have you found it a big change culturally moving to Shropshire?

No, not at all. Actually, despite being rooted as a proud Zimbabwean, we as a nation have filtered out across the world but – and I feel I can speak for my countrymen when I say this – that there remains a particular and huge cultural affinity with the UK. In my case when I moved here it felt that I found an important component of my life that had been missing.  It felt like the right time to be here and really, it was as if I was coming home!

I’m really excited to see what we’ll be doing here at Hencote and I’m looking forward to putting my roots down in Shrewsbury.

Please check back next month for next update but in the meantime, if you would like to know more about Gavin and have the opportunity to meet him we are holding our inaugural wine dinner on Thursday 25th July 2019.

We are planning to have these events regularly and will be focussing on different wine regions, countries and grape varieties on each occasion.

For our first dinner we have chosen Italy as our wine country.  We have selected some incredible Italian wines including Barolo and Amarone and our Head Chef Trystan Williams whose passion for Italian cuisine has been moulded by a number of years working with the renowned chef Angela Hartnett has created a spectacular Italian taster menu to complement the wine.

This special evening is a ticket only event and spaces are limited.  For more details and to book your tickets please click on this link

2018 Evolution Sparkling

In May, we launched our first sparkling wine ‘Evolution’

Made from 70% Seyval Blanc and 30% Pinot Noir grape varieties, our Evolution Sparkling wine is the first sparkling release from our Hencote Vineyard. We are one of a few English vineyards to provide you with a 2018 sparkling wine this year.

Having bottled this wine in December 2018, we have produced our wine in a ‘nouveaux’ style of the traditional Champagne sparkling wine method, a shortened bottle ageing period from the traditional nine months has allowed us to present this innovative and vibrant wine.

Shropshire is renowned as being the birthplace of the industrial revolution, the home of the Modern Olympics and the birthplace of Charles Darwin. We wanted our wine to capture the heritage and innovation of Shropshire and so we called our first ever sparkling wine ‘Evolution’.

Our new sparkling wine enjoys a lively effervescence, a nose of crab-apple and pear that makes it a delightful sparkling wine to be enjoyed in the upcoming summer days. Why not savour a glass on our new wine terrace with family and friends at our Hencote Estate, overlooking miles of beautiful Shropshire countryside.

Pop up and try some whilst enjoying the views of Shrewsbury from ‘The View Restaurant, Bar & Vineyard Terrace’

Bubbly Brunch

Hencote celebrates the bank holiday weekend with the launch of their first Bubbly Brunch menu.

This bank holiday weekend Hencote are inviting you to join them at the launch of their Bubbly Brunch on the 5th and 6th May between 10:30 am t0 13:30 pm.

The brunch will be accompanied by a Glass of Sparkling Wine while you engorge in the breath-taking 180-degree view Hencote has to offer.

Dine in Hencotes exquisite restaurant, The View, and experience a variety of local and international brunch dishes including The Full Hencote Shakshuka to Buttermilk Pancakes.

The Bubbly Brunch menu will continue to run every Sunday after the bank holiday weekend from 10:30 am through to 13:30 pm throughout the summer season.

Charles Stevens, General Manager at Hencote, commented on the new menu: “We are happy to announce the release our first brunch menu. This menu offers our take on a variety of local and international brunch dishes which has been inspired by our Head Chef’s and our family’s ideas and experiences.”

Be among the first to dine at Hencote and experience their spectacular new Bubbly Brunch this bank holiday weekend.

The Estate is open all bank holiday weekend:

Friday 3rd of May 12 pm until 12 am

Saturday 4th of May 12 pm until 12 am

Sunday 5th of May 10:30 am until 12 am

Monday 6th of May 10:30 until 7 pm

Hencote Estate has worked hard in anticipation for another great British summer, creating a relaxing outdoor seating area for everyone to enjoy in the British summer.

Visit Hencote this bank holiday weekend and experience the best of summer on their state-of-the-art decking area, designed for relaxation. Don’t forget to visit their website to reserve and book your table for the bank holiday brunch.

It’s bottling time at Hencote Estate

On Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd of March, we will be bottling our 2018 White and Rose vintage. We invite you to attend our winery tour at Hencote Estate to learn about our process, passion and experience used to create the unique Hencote Wine which you can sample while taking in the idyllic views across Shrewsbury, Shropshire Hills and the Hencote Vineyard.

On Friday we will be bottling and labelling our 2017 Solaris white wine which placed bronze at the International Wine Challenge 2018. After the amazing year we had last year we are very excited about both new offerings – the warmest June in Shrewsbury since before 2000 and the second warmest July made 2018 one of the best vintages for English wine in recent history. Once transferred into bottles it won’t be long before they’re ready for release, just in time for spring.

Across our entire range, we will be producing eight different wines and releasing five of them this year at special launch parties, the first being held in April. Wine Club members will have a free invitation to these events where our winemaker will discuss our ethos and you will have the opportunity to sample the wine and canapés. For more information on the Wine Club please contact us.

On Saturday, we will be bottling our Blanc de Noir Sparkling white and Sparkling rosé wine ready for secondary fermentation. We start the process in the tank by adding the ‘tirage’ (a yeast and sugar mixture that restarts fermentation) before transferring the wine into our champagne bottles and adding a ‘crown cap’ (a beer bottle cap). This traps the fermentation in the bottle, causing the CO2 released to dissolve in our wine creating the fizz.

The bottles will then be laid down to rest in our cellar for between twelve and eighteen months to create the complexity and aromas associated with high quality sparkling wine that can rival champagne.

The first set of sparkling is currently laid down to rest and you can view the next stage which is disgorging during our tours in April.

Book your tour here or contact us for more information [email protected]