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Hencote Vineyard Blog 1

12/4/17 | Mark Stevens- Hencote Vineyard Manager

Good day to you all! I am Mark Stevens and in the past year I have taken over the management of Hencote vineyard.

I’ve previously studied and History and Law, but have grown a few vines and produced a few bottles of wine as an interest in my free time. This interest grew greater and I soon realized I had developed a strong passion for viticulture, and so switched my legal career to follow this passion. As such, I now split my time between Hencote and part-time study at the wine department of Plumpton College near Brighton. Managing 22,000 vines whilst making a 450 mile-round trip every week is not an easy task, but very satisfying when you can see those vines growing stronger!

Harry (works full time on the vineyard) and I began pruning the vines in January, probably the most important, difficult and time-consuming job carried out in the vineyard each year but also probably the most rewarding, as the work we carried out will hopefully shape the development of each vine for years to come. Between us we (Harry mainly) pruned 22,000 vines, finishing in mid-February.

There are many ways to prune and train a vine that will completely affect the vine’s growth and ability to produce a crop, for that year and many year’s after, so it’s crucial to get the job done correctly. Before pruning, the vine’s future growth needs to be visualised and predicted with a view to optimising the formation of a straight trunk, a clear fruiting zone and an open canopy to give the vine the best opportunity to produce ripe fruit.

If done correctly each vine will awaken in Spring and spend the year growing into a stable, healthy vine producing a heavy crop of fruit before falling dormant again in November, where the whole process begins afresh. 

No matter what season and even with the ‘not so pleasant’ weather patterns we get in the UK, it is a constant pleasure working within the vineyard. As I develop my own knowledge of vines by studying, I also develop my own understanding of our vines at Hencote and can implement certain procedures to progress the vineyard to it’s full potential and maximise growth.

This is the first chapter from Hencote vineyard. We will keep you up to date with the progress of our little haven in Shrewsbury.

You can take sneak peeks weekly through our Instagram @hencoteestate

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