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Australian Hentley Farms focuses on UK market

Published:  30 June, 2016

Hentley Farms, which launched in the UK at this year's London Wine Fair, is looking to expand its UK offering.

Hentley Farms, which launched in the UK at this year's London Wine Fair, is looking to expand its UK offering. 

Hentley Farms, which is located in the Barossa Valley, is a single estate producer and is being distributed through Carson Wines. The winery was started in 1997 by founder, Keith Henschke, who then went on to replant and expand the vineyards in 1999. The winery further expanded when a neighbour Otto Von Kasper's property was acquired in 2004.

Henschke, who ran several wineries in the region before deciding to strike out on his own in the mid-1990s found the land in the Seppeltsfield area of the Barossa Valley.

"I was looking for a property that was near water and had rich red-brown soils and started knocking on doors. It really was the prefect property," said Henschke.

"The estate has 45 hectares under vine and we have a focus on premium Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, although we produce a few other varietals. We tend to pick ealry so that the fruit is able to express the terrior of the area," said Andrew Quin the winemaker at Hentley Farms. He joined Hentley Farms in 2008 and has helped further expand the winery's portfolio.

The production over time has grown and the portfolio now includes a range of wines at different price tiers and they produce between 15,000-20,000 cases annually in total. There is a value label called Marl, which is black and Hentley started to produce in 2012, and it is made from grapes sourced from local vineyards. The white labels are single vineyard estate and are the mid-tier offering. Part of the labels include The Beauty and The Beast labels, which are both Shiraz but done in two very different styles every year. The Creation label and The Otto Clos label is the top tier offering. The Creation is a specifically selected block that is different each year and has a different designed art label each year.

With the expansion in production the timing was right for the winery to start focusing on the UK market. 

"Predominately when we started we mostly focused on exports.  However over time we morphed to be primarily focused on cellar doors sales and the domestic market. Today we still have about 80% of production being sold domestically, but we are now at point to start focusing on the UK. We always wanted to be here but we didn't always have the production levels to meet demand," explained Henschke.

The winery has had tremendous success with its cellar door sales and has built an on-site restaurant, which opened its doors in 2012.  The restaurant is consistently recognised as a top dining destination in Australia.

The wines have already been picked up by Harrods and are expected to be on shelves by August. According to Ranulf Sessions, who looks after the premium wines for Carson Wines, said: " We are looking for partners in the independent and on-trade channels for Hentley Farms. We don't want the wines to be everywhere, but we are already getting a great response."