IF you're still looking for a unique Christmas present for that special person, how about a bottle of sparkling Hendred 2017?

Oxfordshire's newest wine-making couple have just opened a shop at their village vineyard.

David and Eileen Bell took on Hendred Vineyard three years ago, having never run a vineyard or even a farm before, but business is now blooming and the customers are flowing in.

To celebrate the latest addition to their business, the couple will be opening the vineyard (and shop) every Saturday for the rest of December for tastings and sales from 2pm to 5pm.

The couple, who have lived in Hendred for years, said that opening the shop felt like 'the final piece of the jigsaw' in their journey from first-time farmers to seasoned sommeliers.

Mr Bell, originally from Amersham, and Dr Bell, from Barnet, met when they were both living in Oxford in their early 20s.

Many years later they decided to move back to Oxfordshire to raise their family and picked the 'enchanting' village of East Hendred.

He worked for an investment firm in London and she worked for a scientific company at Culham.

While living in the village they visited Hendred Vineyard and said they were struck by how good the wine was.

When it was put up for sale in 2014, Dr Bell said: "We grasped the opportunity to put our passion for wine and the outdoor life to good use."

The couple were in at the deep end but said they found great support from the wine-growing community, especially the UK vineyards Association.

Dr Bell said: "It has been a steep learning curve with all aspects of running the vineyard, including all the various regulations it entails.

"However, after four years of grape production, we have got to know the cycle of our vines and the various jobs which need to be done at different times of the year and enjoy having help from friends in the village."

They couple, in their late 40s, even get help from the children – Michael, 11, and Naomi, nine.

When the grapes are harvested, the couple take them to large commercial vineyards to be pressed, fermented and made into wine.

Most of their grapes are made into sparkling white, but they also make a rosé.

Hendred is one of the growing number of successful Oxfordshire vineyards alongside Bothy at Marcham, Brightwell near Wallingford and Meadowgrove in Wantage.

Dr Bell enthused: "English vineyards are gaining increasing recognition, mainly for sparkling wines: some of the French Champagne producers are actually now purchasing English land to plant vineyards.

"For us, though, the excitement of tending the vines through the seasons, watching the grapes being pressed, tasting the wine part way through the fermentation process, to popping the cork on the finished product, is still a novelty."

See hendredvineyard.co.uk