Somewhere in the world it must be time for a gin. It would appear that the rise in popularity of micro breweries and artisan beers has made way for a wave of gin.
Those from Sussex may have seen our glorious white gin bottles in local stores, bars or hotels. Named after the iconic Seven Sisters but gin from these parts is not a new phenomenon. The land that folds over the top of the Seven Sisters cliffs between Seaford and Birling Gap is knows as Crowlink. Genuine Crowlink Gin was the drink in the 1800s in London. It was illegally imported gin which could be legally sold over the bar. Many landlords even resorted to placing the word Crowlink on their barrels as pure PR to improve sales, even if it wasn’t the real deal. The smuggling trade was of huge importance in this part of East Sussex and many of the larger houses that adorn the landscape have been ‘funded’ from the illegal import of alcohol. Ours is not illegal but we do hope it continues to be the gin to drink!
This week saw national Cycle to Work day which was an excellent excuse for me to ride my bike (again).
We are half way through our summer season of pop up restaurants at Rathfinny Wine Estate. We’ve welcomed many guests to our Winery Tasting Room to enjoy food created by some incredible chefs. Corks have been popped, eggs have been cracked and bellies have been filled.
Its been a busy few weeks on the Estate (when is there a quiet time?!) with plenty of guests and the English wine has been flowing. Behind the scenes the vines and the wildlife on the Estate have been going through some changes. The opening image is of a dropwort flower which is showing well on the chalk grassland slopes of Cradle Valley at the moment.
In the Vineyard budburst is well under way and the vine leaves are unfurling and elsewhere on the Estate wildlife is really awakening. The opening image is just a snapshot of a few bee species found on our Trail. The blossom is a great early source of nutrition for so many species and I would really encourage you to take a peek.
As the opening image illustrates, winter is slowly moving into spring. The vines have finished their work for the time being and now receive their annual hair cut and my Estate vehicle requires the adornment of the obligatory bobble hat.
Rathfinny Wine Estate, here in ‘sunny’ Sussex is nestled in Cradle Valley which lends its name to our still wine. Mark, our chef here on the Estate, recently travelled to a place described by Mark Twain as the “cradle of the human race” – India. We felt we should hand this weeks blog over to him.
I have just returned from a road trip through the heart of India to raise awareness and cash for the Teenage Cancer Trust. This is my report from the Dumball Rally 2017. The idea was to borrow some ancient Mahindra Jeeps from some very nervous owners and drive around 2,000 km in 8 days through the heart of rural India. There followed a fantastic adventure across one of the most amazing countries this planet has to offer.
This wonderful bumble bee has totally the right idea – found itself the largest sunflower adorning our wildbird seed headlands and is having a big fat snack. So many things have been happening on the Estate over the past few weeks, it’s been difficult to catch your breath. During all this, our grapes have been basking in the September sun and the sugar levels have been slowly rising in preparation for harvest.