Mar 11 2020

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.