Flying winemaker with experience in Italy, Argentina and Burgundy
- For over twenty years, Dominic has been a flying winemaker producing wines all over the world.
- He's done working with big wine corporations and wants the freedom to highlight parcels of grapes that typify the region and bring out the best in quality and elegance.
- Dominic makes top notch wines at remarkably low prices.
Map of the Vineyard
Dominic Hentall's Story
"My first experience of wine was at a very young age, as my mother used to make home made wine from all sorts of flowers and berries on the farm. I remember the kitchen rack above the old aga filled with glass vessels, all blooping away, as the wines fermented! Helping to rack the finished wines several times, until they were clear, then hand bottling them and storing them in the racks..Perhaps this is when the real interest began!
Growing up I was brought up with music and cars! I studied the piano from a young age, and finished all of my grades before I was 16. My father used to race sports cars as a hobby, so I was tinkering with engines from the age of 10, something I am still doing today! After finishing my 'A' levels, I was taking a year out, to study a second instrument - the clarinet, as I was destined to study music at university, having completed all of my piano grades with the Royal academy of Music board. So I set off for France at the age of 18, working for a family as a general labourer, DIY man, rebuilding a large house in the Basque country of France. It was here that I discovered wines, living with the family there, and finally ended up picking my first grapes for the harvest in St Emilion, Bordeaux, at Chateau Chauvin, a Grand Cru Classe in 1984...not a great year to start off with! It was from here that my interest and passion to learn more developed, working in Bordeaux at a Negociants, whilst doing some studies at Bordeaux University for a while, in Winemaking.
Unfortunately I had to return to the UK, having run out of money. My father was not impressed that I had abandoned my Music, in favour of wine, and not having any grants to continue, I ended up doing a variety of jobs, from managing my uncles posh restaurant in Kent, working in London hotels, professional pianist in a ski resort in Switzerland to specialist turbo design for sports cars! - Oh yes, I forgot to say that fast cars are one of my other hobbies!
After a couple of years I knew that I needed to get back into the world of wine, and decided to go to University in the UK, studying a business management degree, geared towards the hospitality industry, specialising in wines and winemaking. It was during this time that I worked part time as a student at the Majestic Wine store in Oxford, to better understand the styles and quality of wines that the UK consumer really likes. After graduation, I continued to work for Majestics for a while, before finding a place as assistant winemaker in Australia, with the prestigious Leasingham Winery in the Clare Valley, South Australia. From my experience there, working with one of the countries top winemakers, I climbed the ladder, doing three vintages there, whilst alternating doing a harvest in France as well, for a Flying Winemaker for three harvests. My studies continued, but the hands on experience proved more invaluable than any book! My experiences between the new world and old world, winemaking techniques were fascinating, and gave me a better understanding and passion to create the best wines possible.
I was then 'head hunted' by a large UK wine importer, as their Chief Winemaker, to make and blend wines for them all over the world, including Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, California, South Africa, France, Italy, Spain! Over nearly ten years I produced wines for nearly all of the main UK retailers, winning numerous gold medals and the occasional trophy! I then went back to freelance consultant winemaking, discovered Naked Wines, and the rest is history!
I just love creating something from the earth. Starting with the vineyards, nurturing the vines, selecting the grapes from tasting them, and understanding how to bring out the best flavours of those grapes, whilst keeping the tradition and character of each region. Travelling the world and seeing the most beautiful places and meeting the special people that share my passion for wines. Tasting my wines with the customers that love them, and seeing the pleasure they bring. Then coming home, taking one of the fast cars out for a spin, then relaxing with a nice glass of wine, playing my grand piano at home!
From my experiences working around the world, and knowing the individual vineyards and wineries, I have tried to identify each parcel of grapes that typifies the region and brings out the best in quality and elegance.
I hope to produce more wines for Naked Wines from some of the other regions in the world where I believe there is great potential...growing my range with Naked Wines, whilst growing my reputation with all of the Angels…so watch this space! "
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