Building a legacy in the beautiful Sussex countryside comes with a huge responsibility when it comes to preserving the natural environment and caring for the variety of species that inhabit the land.

Whilst sustainability is woven into our DNA as a certified B Corp, there are many environmental challenges and choices to make as on the Vineyard and beyond.

What Does it Mean to be a B Corp?

B Corp status isn’t just a nice-to-have, tick-in-the-box accreditation; it’s a legal commitment to the land whereby a business, like Rathfinny, undertakes a rigorous assessment of their social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. It’s about being honest and actively contributing to positive societal change, and it’s not easy as it took us a couple of years to achieve this status!

B Corps operate with a holistic approach, recognising the interconnectedness of business success and societal well-being, striving to make a meaningful impact on the world.

Why is Sustainability Important in Wine?

A sustainable approach to viticulture is, in our opinion, the only approach. By its very nature, the wine industry is reliant on the land on which we grow our vines. At once an exciting opportunity, it is also concerning, so minimising environmental impact is a vital pursuit of any responsible business; hence the B Corp spirit of mediating profit with environmental stewardship.

Why is Biodiversity Important in Wine?

In a practical sense, an increase in plant, insect, mammal and bird species around a vineyard can help fight pests, keep disease levels low, contribute to water retention, and even slow down the rate of soil erosion.

In a wider sense, intensive farming across the world has taken its toll on our delicate ecosystems, and parts of our very lives can be affected by the lack of biodiversity that it could cause. This includes food supply, air quality, and even access to clean water.

What Sussex Downland Biodiversity do we Find at Rathfinny – and How do we Encourage and Protect Them?

A biodiversity study across four areas on our Estate with different ecosystem characteristics was conducted with our friends at Buglife and showed the broad breadth of species within the Vineyard and on our chalk grassland bank too.

We’re so proud to provide a home and a safe space for a variety of different creatures here, and they, alongside the plants and trees that we’ve welcomed to the estate, have increased biodiversity. They include:

Bees, Wasps and Hoverflies

Bumblebees, hoverflies, solitary bees, and predatory wasps thrive around our vines – we notice them so often now. The areas between the vines that we leave to grow wild is credited with the uptick in flying friends – that, and the beehives we’ve introduced in conjunction with a local beekeeper.

To further the knowledge of our staff, and to keep our eyes open and surveying, a member of our team attended a BioBlitz survey with Graeme Lyons, a freelance entomologist, ecologist, and botanist.


It’s always a treat to spot the likes of hares and badgers around Rathfinny, and we have in fact carried out badger surveys and TB vaccinations on site. We work with The Animal and Plant Health Agency, hosting regular training sessions as part of an ongoing 5-year programme. We sincerely hope that this will aid our neighbours that graze livestock, and provide a much-needed alternative to badger culling.

Butterflies and Moths

With the chalkland that’s so synonymous with Sussex, notable butterfly species become commonplace. Butterfly transects have been carried out on our chalkland banks by butterfly expert, Bob Eade since the Vineyard was planted, with all recorded information passed to Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre and The Butterfly Conservation. Key butterfly species that have been doing well include Silver Spotted Skipper, Adonis Blue and Green Hairstreak.


Tawny owls, barn owls and little owls have all bred across our estate, and two notable mixed farmland birds, the skylark and corn bunting, which are declining nationally, have also been thriving too. The presence of the owls in particular, which are near the top of the food chain, is a fantastic nod to the depth of our biodiversity.

Wildflower Corridors
bird on a wire
Vineyard Nature
Adonis Blue Butterfly
Rathfinny Estate Harvest Landscape October 2022

Visit Rathfinny to See Sussex Sustainability

It’s always a pleasure to welcome visitors to our Estate and share not only the expertise that goes into producing our Sussex Sparkling Wines, but also the beautiful landscape we’re located within. Our self-guided Vineyard Tours are a wonderful way to explore the biodiversity that we’ve cultivated around our Wine Estate, so not only do you get to see where our Sussex Sparkling Wine grapes our grown, you’ll be introduced to our wildlife, too.