An update from Rebecca Apley, Henners Cellar Door General Manager, about English Wine Week, sustainability and the launch of their self-guided tour.
This year, English Wine Week (Saturday 17th June – Sunday 26th June) will feel particularly auspicious at Henners Vineyard with the opening of our brand new Cellar Door and Tasting Room.
In the past few years, English wine has soared far beyond where many of us imagined it could, and Henners has been a truly relevant and dynamic part of that movement. There is real pleasure in seeing how this has brought about the rise of the Cellar Door and the growth of the English oeno- and eco-tourism scene. It is no longer necessary to board a flight to South Africa or the Languedoc to enjoy the experience of sipping something cold and delicious from the vineyard that you’ve just walked around. Much better for the environment too, now that winery after winery here in the UK is opening their doors to the public. Here at Henners, we’re very much up for joining that fray. It seemed only natural therefore that we would put on a program of events for English Wine Week.
Our doors will be open on the first Saturday of English Wine Week for Early Music, paired with our full range of wines. This promises to be a very unique evening where guests can listen to music as they sip our fizz and learn about the unusual instruments being played… as well as discussing why and how we are paring music with wine! Wine, music, and art have always been linked, and guests will be amongst the first to see the art that will be exhibited at Henners over the course of the week. We can’t wait see how the art, the wine, and of course our beautiful landscape and environs interact.
Henners new outdoor seating area
This will be the start of an event series at Henners, celebrating locality and our surroundings. Opening the Cellar Door and expanding our space for people to visit us has given us an incredible platform to celebrate the landscape around us, and we’re really looking forward to the events being hosted here. A month or so later, we’ll be hosting an event with Supreme Cheese Champions Pevensey Blue, who operate just a stone’s throw away from us. We’re also going to be working in particular with Indie Farmer, who do some of the best meat boxes we’ve tried, and who like us are putting sustainability at the heart of their agenda. Evenings like this will prove beyond all doubt that “what grows together goes together”, with the food and the wine complimenting each other perfectly, eaten in the same microbiome where they are grown and made.
On the subject of locality – and sustainability – opening our Cellar Door has been an opportunity for us to decide how to talk to people about what it is that we do here at Henners. One of the main things that we wanted to focus on was our commitment to sustainability. As founder members of Sustainable Wines of Great Britain, Henners has been front and centre of pushing the agenda and having challenging conversations around what sustainability means – what it means in general, what it means in the UK, and what it means to us. This has sparked our latest project – the wildflower meadow – a corridor of locally gathered Wealdian wildflowers, which will provide a haven for insects, flora, and fauna that help us increase biodiversity around our vines.
Rebecca leading a vineyard tour
This wildflower meadow features heavily in our self-guided tour. When visitors explore the self-guided tour at Henners, they are able to follow our map through the vineyard and learn more about the nature, geography, and processes that happen here, with interactive videos, tasting notes for wines, and clues to fill in for a final prize. We don’t want to preach about sustainability, or offer only dry and serious tours: although get us going and we’ll talk about the intricate details for hours! Instead, this option gives people a far more accessible entry point into understanding and enjoying the vineyard in all its glory, all the year round.
We hope that many of you will visit us and enjoy walking the vines with us or exploring them solo, and learning more about how we see ourselves as custodians of this land. Check out our events page for all the latest info.