About the Winemaker
Collette O'Leary joined Boutinot in early 2019 as the estate manager and head winemaker for Henners Vineyard in Sussex. After several years working for PR agencies in London, she had a career change and began studying at Plumpton College graduating in 2014. Collette's winemaking experiences took her from California to South Africa, before England called her home.
After working as an assistant winemaker at another winery, she felt she was ready for a new challenge... which brought her to Henners! "We're a small team, so we do everything; from pruning to bottling, through to hand-applying the tabs over the top of the Native Grace bottles. We do it all and that's quite unusual."
When it comes to picking a favorite variety, Collette enjoys the "blank canvas" of Chardonnay, especially for sparkling wines. She has, however, already identified her nemesis: Bacchus. Collette says "It's aromatic with great promise, but it's a bit like an awkward teenager going through different phases as you're working with it. It's great fun really!"
Collette joined Henners at a time when we were expanding the range to include our still wines. This development at the winery, and the potential of the region in general, is something that Collette is very excited about: "It's a really exciting time to be in the industry. The skills coming into it are immense. We're getting better at understanding our climate and how to get better quality even in difficult years."
Outside of winemaking, Collette is usually planning her next holiday and enjoys exploring places off the beaten track, especially Sri Lanka "the people, the culture, the tea, there's just so much to explore!"
Meet the Producer
When it comes to English wine there’s a lot to shout about, not least the stunning sparkling wines from our own production vineyard in East Sussex, Henners.
Based just four miles from the sea, on the fringes of the village of Herstmonceux, the ten acre vineyard was created in 2007 by ex-Formula One engineer, Lawrence Warr. Having developed strong ties to both the winery and its wines, when the opportunity arose to buy the estate in 2017, we (Boutinot) did!
Planted with traditional champagne varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, the vines thrive in an idyllic microclimate created by the vineyard’s proximity to the sea, low altitude (only 24 masl) and steep sunny south facing slopes.
All Henners wines are hand-crafted from start to finish; with separate fermenting of varietals and their vine clones, to allow a broader range of wines for final blending. The lees are extended for aging to add complexity and holding back the bottles for at least four years prior to release adds depth and richness.
Henners – exclusive English Sparkling Wines of the finest quality. Crafted with every attention to detail, they are a perfect accompaniment to any occasion.