Zoë Driver, 
Junior Winemaker, Hattingley Valley

Zoë Driver in the cellar at Hattingley Valley Wine.
The journey from north west London to Hattingley Valley is one that is not unfamiliar as more people realise that a career in wine making ha smuch to offer. Zoë graduated from Loughborough University with a degree in English and Drama, and then spent a couple of years travelling the world where she stopped in Australia for a year and worked for Domain Chandon where she fell in love with wine making.

Zoë Driver
Hattingley Valley Wine

Upon her return to England she tried a number of “normal” jobs which made Zoë realise that she’d not be happy until she returned to wine making.

When looking for a production role in a winery she saw the ‘First Apprentice Winemaking Role’ I knew she had to go for it. This enabled her learn on the job in the Hattingley Valley Winery whilst gaining her WSET Levels 1, 2 & 3 and studying The Principles of Vine Growing and the Principles of Wine Making at Plumpton College Wine Division.

It’s been busy year for Zoë, she’s now completed her apprenticeship and has spent the summer in France harvesting grapes for Champagne Pommery. This means Hattingley Valley are looking for someone to fill Zoë's white wellies as only the second winemaking apprentice in UK!

There's more to making wine than people realise - the 2018 will be one to remember for all involved at Hattingley Valley and tremendous experience for Zoë to build upon in her new role.

The English grape harvest is now in full swing and Zoë will be busy in her new role of Junior Winemaker at Hattingley Valley as they not only process their own grapes, but contract for many other growers.

When I visited the Hattingley Valley Winery in July, Emma Rice Director/Winemaker said they had approximately 393,000 litres capacity available for the 2018 harvest - that equates to around 393 tonnes of grapes to de-stem, press & ferment.

Freshly picked Chardonnay grapes on the way into the French 4000 kg Coquard grape press 

The 2018 grape harvest is proving to be the most successful in terms of yield due to the near ideal growing conditions of spring & summer. This means everyone involved in the harvest will be working long hours to ensure the greater than expected volume of grapes are processed.
The timing of harvest this year coincides with Zoë starting her MSc in Viticulture and Oenology at Plumpton.

Zoë checking the newly pressed Chardonnay juice for quality. 

Zoë says she loves the variety of her job and how much she continually learns, working with such a talented team. The staff at Plumpton are incredibly knowledgeable and friendly. She gets to meet other like-minded students, and use all the fantastic resources and facilities available.

When not making wine Zoë is a trained dancer and loves scuba diving. She's a huge Disney and Harry Potter fan and been lucky enough to extensively travel 6 of the 7 continents. She’s lived in the Yarra Valley in Australia which will always hold a special place in her heart.

If marooned on a Desert Island Zoë would be drinking Piña Coladas - with any luck a blender would wash up to ensure the pineapple, coconut cream & white rum are blended properly!

Hattingley Valley produce Traditional Method Quality English Sparkling Wine - Zoe’s favourite is the world champion 2011 Blanc de Blancs Magnum.

A pleasure to meet you and the team Emma. Thank you for sparing the time from your hectic schedule to be part of Heart of UK Wine.

Coming next on Heart of UK Wine . . . watch this space!

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