2020 certainly didn’t begin the way anyone could have expected, but as lockdown measures ease and little luxuries like dining out and planning trips resume, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about what’s going on at Rathfinny this summer. Whether you’re near or far away from our Estate, we want to share a taste of Sussex with you.

Sparkling Rose Picnic

WHAT ARE WE DRINKING?

Who doesn’t like a cold glass of Sparkling Rosé on a summer’s evening?

Our Sussex Sparkling Rosé Brut 2017 is expressive, cerise in colour and full of all the flavours of an English summer. Drinks columnist, Susy Atkins described it in The Sunday Telegraph as “Ravishing” and made it one of her “Star Buys” for this summer.

Alternatively, if you’re a fan of a still, pale Rosé, why not try our 2018 vintage, from our sister label, Cradle Valley? Made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes, we’ve been enjoying this wine with light seafood dishes and fruit-based desserts.

Have you tried a V&T? Our secret summer drink this year is a Seven Sisters Vermouth and Tonic, which makes the perfect summertime cocktail with low alcohol content. Our Vermouth is a true reflection of the chalk soils at Rathfinny, which produces grapes to make a rich, fortified wine. Find out more about a V&T in Sarah’s blog and discover our Seven Sisters Martini case for the perfect introduction to our Sussex spirits.

You can now shop our complete wine portfolio on our online shop!

Picnic Blanket

WHAT ARE WE EATING?

This summer our Tasting Room restaurant has a new and exciting offer. From now until September, enjoy Vineyard Picnic Hampers and a takeaway seafood menu, created by our Head Chef, Chris Bailey.

Dine amongst the vines with breath-taking views of the beautiful South Downs National Park. Our pre-prepared picnics offer three-courses with the option to add a bottle of our chilled Sussex wine. Starter dishes include salads such as watermelon, barrel-aged feta, sesame and basil followed by a main from a list which includes herb roast Sussex chicken, grilled sea trout or a summer pea frittata. To finish, indulge in Victoria sponge cake with English strawberries and cream which perfectly pairs with our sparkling Rosé Brut 2017. A children’s menu is available too.

Seafood and Wine

The Tasting Room Seafood & Wine Kitchen is open for takeaway seafood delights straight from the day boats. Expect lobster and chips, beer battered fish fillet with chips, mushy peas and tartare and Porthilly rock oysters plus more. Limited seating is available overlooking the Vineyard or you are welcome to bring picnic rugs and chairs to have a unique experience dining among the vines. No need to book, just swing by and enjoy (Wednesday to Sunday).

Social Distanced Vineyard Maintenance

HOW ARE WE MAKING A DIFFERENCE?

Have you heard of Sussex Modern? The Sussex collective is made up of thirty-six destinations across East and West Sussex that celebrate the county’s contribution to modern culture and showcases its incredible ancient landscape, contemporary art and innovative winemaking.

Unfortunately, the Corona Virus negatively impacted many art galleries, heritage sites and museums. As a result, Sussex Modern created a bespoke wine case showcasing the most beautifully-crafted Sussex wines. All profits go towards supporting the thirteen Arts Partners of Sussex Modern who are planning their steps towards recovery. Discover wine cases online.

Elsewhere, in our Winery we have been taking steps to create vegan-friendly wines. From 2014 – 2018 we used Isinglass in the Winery, a common fish-based fining agent as it provided the best results for fining our wines. However, we recently reviewed and trialled alternatives and we are now using Fyneo, a yeast-derived fining agent which provides comparable results. So, all our 2019 vintages and future wines will use this new non-animal origin material, classing them as vegan.

Sussex Sparkling at Ham Yard Hotel

WHO ARE WE CELEBRATING?

As a family-run business with precious relationships in the hospitality industry, it was hard to see the closure of so many restaurants, bars and hotels as a result of COVID. As the hospitality industry begins to reopen, we wish them all safe and well. If you’re planning on dining out post-lockdown, use our online tool to discover all the venues that stock Rathfinny sparkling. We look forward to meeting again over a glass of #SussexSparkling!

It is also our 10th anniversary year and if you haven’t heard, we’ve launched four new vintages. We called upon some of our amazing sommelier and chef friends from top restaurants to sample our wines and share their verdicts. Head to our YouTube channel to see top tastemakers (including none other than Two Michelin Starred Chef of Le Gavroche, Michel Roux Jr), sampling our new Classic Cuvée 2016 and giving you their expert verdict on their #FirstSip.

Flint Barns courtyard

WHAT ARE WE PLANNING?

As life begins to get back on track, a staycation is increasingly popular. We plan to reopen our Flint Barns B&B, from 10th July, providing a considerately designed ‘home away from home’ accommodation that offers a safe, single-site food and wine destination for guests to visit post- lockdown.

Our hugely popular tours will also recommence this summer. In small guided groups, you will walk through the vines and visit our state-of-the-art Winery to learn about the process and care it takes to make traditional method Sussex Sparkling wine. On these thoroughly informative tours, you will discover all that goes on at Rathfinny, from the history and the Driver family, to the wildlife, flora and fauna that house on the Estate.

“Our main intention is to be able to continue to provide a truly memorable Rathfinny experience as we have always strived to deliver, whilst ensuring our guests and staff are kept safe.”

Sarah Driver, Rathfinny Co-Owner