Nestled in the heart of the Thames Valley sits Harrow & Hope, one of the UK's new leading sparkling wine producers. Hedsor House could not be more delighted about our new partnership with this family run business for so many reasons. Get to know Harrow & Hope a little more below...
Meet Henry & Kaye
Henry Laithwaite is part of a family obsessed with wine for over 50 years and thanks to his parents all he has ever known is vineyards and wineries, from staggering around Chablis Grand Cru vineyards in his nappies, to making his first wine (pineapple!!) aged just 13.
Henry and his wife Kaye met at Durham University, a girl who stuck with him for years whilst he disappeared to Australia and France to do harvest for months on end. Marrying in 2008 they headed off to rural France to set up their first vineyard project at Chateau Verniotte in Castillon, Bordeaux. Although they still love the place, they wanted to start a family in England. And just at that time it had become clear, thanks to the work of others, that the chalk hills of England were capable of producing sparkling wines that were more than just good; that were world-class.
They searched for and eventually found their perfect site on the rolling hills behind Marlow. Vines planted, two kids born, winery built and 7 years later they're ready to delight the world with their fizz. They did bring one French souvenir with them back to England - their beautiful vineyard dog called Alfonse, who was rescued from the streets of Bergerac! He is now affectionately known as Alfie in keeping with their new British surroundings.
Our recent team visit to the vineyard...
The Hedsor team had the opportunity to visit the gorgeous vineyard and were amazed by just how much work goes into making the perfect sparkling wine. Henry and Kaye's whole life is dedicated to ensuring they produce the perfect blend and their efforts know no bounds! They have even been known, in the case of cold temperatures to go around in the night lighting tiny candles to keep the vines from freezing. One bad freeze could completely destroy a whole year of hard work.
Henry and Kaye have given this once in a lifetime project the best shot with the help of family and friends along the way. Mike Roberts OBE and his family Tamara and Simon from Ridgeview were vital when they first started this journey and they continue to seek the best guidance today including a bi-annual visit from Dr. Tony Jordan, the Australian sparkling pioneer.
The Harrow & Hope team are overjoyed with the product they have created and are enjoying the countless awards that continue to roll in. In 2016 they were able to pick 16 tonnes of grapes and this year they picked an astonishing 55 tonnes. This is no easy feat so the team had the help of 25-30 helpers to pick the crop with 12 tonnes getting picked per day. About 30% of Harrow & Hope wines are aged in oak 'Bordelaise' barrels to give extra character and completity to the final wines.
If Harrow & Hope are successful with 55 tonnes of grapes they expect for that to translate to around 35,000 bottles for us all to enjoy! Hurrah!
It's great to have another family run, independent local initiative to support and so Hedsor House is delighted to currently offer our clients a choice of Harrow & Hope Brut Reserve NV and Harrow & Hope Rosé NV on our wine list.