The Rathfinny Estate in Sussex was founded in 2010 to produce some of the world’s truly great sparkling wines. It is situated near Alfriston on the South Downs and has the perfect aspect, soil and climate profile for sparkling wine.
In 2012 they planted out 20 hectares and a further 20 hectares was planted in 2013. The intention is to have 160 hectares (400 acres) of vines planted by 2020, eventually producing over a million bottles a year of the finest Sussex sparkling wine.
The principal grape varieties planted are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. However, they have also planted out small areas of Riesling, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc.
A new state of the art winery that is energy self-sufficient, with a grass roof, solar panels and a water treatment facility, has been constructed ready for the first harvest in autumn 2013.
Cameron Roucher, a top viticulturist from New Zealand, manages the vineyard and with his team aims to produce top quality fruit that will be exclusively sourced from the Rathfinny Estate.
Jonathan Médard, the winemaker joined Rathfinny in 2012. Jonathan grew up in Epernay and has sparkling wine in his blood. He gained a master’s in Oenology from the Université of Reims, he trained in the wineries of Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Champagne Louis Roederer, Moet & Chandon and Champagne Boizel prior to honing his expertise in California and Virginia at Newton Vineyard and the Kluge Estate.
Rathfinny will produce predominantly sparkling wines, which are expected to be available from 2017/18. A small quantity of quality still wines will also be produced and these are expected to be available from 2015.