Review: Hencote Wine Estate, Shropshire
Bored of the city? Take a break in the West Midlands at Hencote, where guests can get stuck into a selection of award-winning wines, take in the local scenery and relax in one of the luxury glamping lodges.
Review: Hencote Wine Estate, Shropshire
The Midlands is packed with cultural gems, some obvious and some waiting to be discovered. Hencote, a vineyard and wine estate tucked into the rolling hills of Shropshire, is one of these unsung heroes.
Overlooking the market town of Shrewsbury, Hencote (which literally translates to ‘high on the hill’) has watched over the local area for many years – but it was only in 2009 that the current owners decided to plant a hobby vineyard of 160 vines. Despite being told by viticulturalists that they were too far north, Hencote’s vineyard soon began to harvest good quality grapes. 12 years later, the wine estate now has a new vineyard with over 24,000 vines, a winery building, a restaurant, a wine and cocktail bar and a glamping village. What was once a small hobby has escalated into a successful English wine estate – and the perfect luxury weekend break.
We took a trip to Hencote this month to see for ourselves what guests can expect from a stay at Hencote – and it’s safe to say we were not disappointed.
We spent the first part of our stay on Hencote’s famed wine tour, which took us through the rows of grape vines in the vineyard to the winery building next door to the restaurant (where we later had the opportunity to taste a selection of Hencote wines).
Our tour guide and Hencote’s sommelier, Sahara, led us through the rows of grape vines as she told us all about the wine-making process, the wines they make and the Hencote’s history. She also shared some fun stories about past owners of the estate – a favourite being the one who kept monkeys in 70’s, causing locals to label Hencote as ‘The Monkey House’ (look out for the monkey statue in the restaurant, which is a nod to this very story).
Afterwards we made our way back to the restaurant and bar, where the real fun began: wine tasting. We had five different wines to try, from classic reds and whites to rosé and fizz. Each tasting was led by Sahara as she told us about the flavours of each wine and how to pair them with your meal. No glass was left behind, but the star of the session was the Evolution Sparkling, a refreshing sparkling wine that added to the celebratory atmosphere of the weekend.
As part of the Staycation Package, we were able to spend the night in one of Hencote’s luxury glamping lodges. Unlock your tent and get set up for your stay with a glass of wine waiting on the table – the best way to start any holiday.
The glamping village was made up of ten tents nestled together at the end of the vineyard (and away from the restaurant for added privacy). But don’t let the word ‘tent’ fool you, this was a home away from home complete with its own sitting room, kitchen, bedroom, en suite bathroom and loft.
We spent the afternoon lounging in our lodge’s hot tub, which was sat outside on the front porch of our lodge. Glass of wine in hand and views of the local countryside stretching as far as the eye could see, you couldn’t help but relax into the peaceful setting and enjoy the moment.
The View Restaurant
There was no better way to wind down the evening than with a three course meal at The View Restaurant. Look up the phrase ‘dinner with a view’ and you’ll find Hencote. Overlooking sweeping views of Hencote’s vineyard and the Shropshire hills, The View is quite literally stunning.
As part of the glamping package we were welcomed to our table with sparkling wine. Food was made with the best local produce and prepared fresh in the kitchen, with the wood-fire stove filling the inside of the restaurant with the small of freshly-cooked pizza.
The welcoming atmosphere wasn’t lost either. You could ask any of the staff about wine pairings for your meal and they were happy to help, so you could truly get a taste of the full Hencote experience.
We were treated to a delicious selection of foods, including grilled chicken satay, prime cut burgers and steak. But the real highlight of the meal was dessert, a vanilla cheesecake with minty strawberries and ice cream.
With full bellies, we waddled back to our glamping lodge for the night, whose log burner and heated bedrooms kept us warm and happy throughout the night.
Hencote should be on every wine enthusiast’s bucket list. With good food, even better wine and a view to beat them all, Hencote is an idyllic escape into the UK countryside that truly characterises the phrase ‘the best of British’. But why hear it through the grapevine when you can see it for yourself?
Glamping packages start at £430. For more information, please visit hencote.com.
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