The Notebook

Assemblage, new events and bud burst - Another busy month at Hambledon!

Assemblage, new events and bud burst - Another busy month at Hambledon!

For all of us at Hambledon the last month has been something of a whirlwind! On the winemaking front we had the major blending period, leading up to our final assemblage day on 11th April, whereas on the marketing side, we began to host visits and tours in earnest, culminating in a Sparkling Wine Workshop on 25th April. Even the vineyards were getting in on the act, with bud burst occurring a full two weeks ahead of usual!


We had a great day on 11th April, led by Head Winemaker Hervé Jestin and with a few other friends in attendance, including wine writer and sparkling specialist Giles Fallowfield. We had a very successful outcome, agreeing on the final blend for both the next Classic Cuvée and Premiere Cuvée, that will be released in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Giles at work!

It's a really fascinating experience to taste still base wines blended together in different proportions, and to try and imagine what the finished product will be like once it's gone through a second fermentation in bottle and greeted the world as a fully fledged sparkling wine. Hervé considers that the assemblage is only the final part in the jigsaw - and that it is vital to ensure you have exceptional fruit in the first place which is nurtured through a gentle fermentation with as little intervention as possible. 

Hervé Jestin and Antoine Arnault try different proportions

Tours and Events

We're getting lots of interest in our new tours on site now and bookings have jumped through the roof in recent weeks. Sarah Besly, Phil Kellett and the team have been working hard on preparing the visitor facilities and we've had very good feedback so far. We now have a proper meeting room on site that can be booked for events, lunches and other activities and we're also able to offer the estate as a wedding venue, which is certainly an attractive proposition for wine lovers looking for something a bit different. 

We will be holding a number of regular events throughout the year too, one of which is a sparkling wine workshop, offering guests the chance to make their own bespoke bottle of fizz to take away. We had the first one on 25th April, hosted by the 'shy and retiring' Joe Wadsack, one of the UK's most popular wine writers and broadcasters. What a hoot it turned out to be! But don't just take our word for it, have a read here to see one guest's own thoughts on the evening. 

New life in the vineyards

Following the wonderful March weather, spring arrived in full in the vineyards in April and we saw bud burst a full two weeks earlier than usual. It is such a positive time of year and we all love to wander amongst the vines comparing each plant and marvelling at how nature is able to spring back into action. Fingers crossed that we don't have any late frosts now, so that we can enjoy the benefits of a slightly earlier maturing period this summer.