Interview With A Winemaker – Juan Montenegro

13th October 2023

Interview With A Winemaker Juan Montenegro

Wine isn’t just made, it’s crafted by the unwavering expertise of a Winemaker, sometimes old traditions are passed down by generations and on other occasions, new people venture into the industry, introducing us to new creations, this series of Winemaker Interviews will help you uncover the vast world and skills of how the artists passionate about wine make the world a bubbly place.

In this feature we speak with Juan Montenegro, an amazing Winemaker from England, let’s discover a little about his time in the English Wine Industry.

Tell Us About Yourself

“Born and raised in Santiago de Chile, I initially studied and then worked for 2 years as a psychologist. However, life led me to wine and after seven years working in the wine industry and a Master’s Degree in Viticulture and Oenology from Plumpton College, I am currently the Assistant Winemaker of one of the most prestigious Sparkling Wine Wineries in the UK. When not making wine, I love to spend my free time playing different sports, mainly football and tennis, and meeting new people.”

How Did You Become Involved In The Wine Industry?

“In 2015 I travelled to Australia for what was supposed to be a one-year gap. I ended up getting a job at Ferngrove Wines, Western Australia, helping out during pruning and throughout the growing season. I was lucky enough that they offered me a job to join their winery team for the harvest, where I ended up staying for more than a year. This is how I fell in love with wine!

From there it led me to New Zealand, and eventually to England where I got a position as a cellar-hand at Hattingley Valley Wines in 2018. Since then, I have been growing with the company being the current Assistant Winemaker working side by side with the Head Winemaker making the best wines possible.

As A Winemaker, What Has Been Your Hardest Obstacle To Overcome In Producing Wine?

“The weather!!!!”

How Do You Determine When Your Wine Is Ready To Drink?

“There is not a specific timeframe and actually could be a quite complex process, but let’s say that it requires a lot of taste tests!”

What Part Of The Wine Making Process Do You Enjoy The Most?

“Blending is one of the most interesting yet complex stages of the process. On the one hand, it is impressive to perceive the differences from year to year from the same parcel of fruit. On the other, it is simply rewarding and satisfying to create a brand-new wine after months of ‘sweat and tears’.”

How Do You See The Future Of English Sparkling Wine?

“For such a young industry, it has a big bright future ahead, with loads of open doors.”

Where’s The Most Memorable Place You’ve Enjoyed A Glass of Bubbly?

“It is quite simple, at home after realising I finished my Masters Degree in Viticulture and Oenology. As a foreigner that changed careers and moved countries this was a memorable proud moment that deserved the perfect celebration. .”

Thank you Juan, for sharing your words, knowledge and experience with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!

Images belong to Juan Montenegro & Hattingley Valley Wines. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission to use them.

Oliver Walkey

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.