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The Art of Wine Making

The most intriguing part of my job, bar tasting wine, is the fantastic diversity of how to grow wine…

Each wine maker will usually tell you that his or her methods are the best and in the end should be the only way you grow and produce wine.

Having returned from a week in Mendoza as a guest at Catena Zapata Vineyards, I have to say I am slightly overwhelmed with fantastic information and knowledge. I have never encountered a Vineyard so open to new techniques and ideas.

The Catena Institute of Wine is a shining example of the hunger to better your product all the time. To walk the Adriana Vineyard and discover the multitude of different soils and how it effects the grape, the slight sloping, even the plants density to each other. All this is monitored to the last detail and the result is staggering!  

Having tasted a mature grape at the beginning of a row, then walk only ten meters in and taste a grape again, and finding a significant difference in taste! This in turn means that when the harvest is upon Adriana Vineyard, the pickers have specific instructions from the Vineyard Manager of where they should pick, down to the last 30 cm! Different areas each day so the grapes can grow to maximum flavour.  Later at the blending stages, you have up to twenty different parcels of wine that can be blended into the wine we drink.

But every year there is a slight alteration in how they grow the grapes, always hungry to find the best yield. And most of Catena is involved in getting new ideas across. It was truly an eye-opener to look and learn from. We stood at the opening of Adriana Vineyard and got a cold glass of “White Bones” Chardonnay before entering the row of grapes, while listening to the Vineyard Manager explaining how the wine got from grape to bottle. Truly magical!

Loaded with so much more knowledge, I cannot wait for service at evening time and to sell wine! 

To find out more about wine at Rockliffe Hall, email Daniel at or phone 01325 729999.