What very strange times we are living in! I was reflecting on a Chinese proverb, well actually a curse, that says “may he live in interesting times” and when I looked it up it referred to a speech that Kennedy delivered quoting it. I thought it was interesting though that he added “Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind.” Let us hope that we too can find the creativity to battle this latest challenge.
On Tuesday we had to close our Cellar Door and the whole Estate to visitors. We have since made more stock available to our on-line retailers across the UK so please check out our website to find your local on-line supplier. After all, it’s times like these in particular that we need cheering up, and what better way to do so than with a glass of our lovely Sussex Sparkling wine.
Our staff have been simply amazing and I thank each and every one of them for their personal contribution at this difficult time. All the office-based team are now working from home and mastering the delights of Teams conferencing. The trickiest part for me is remembering that everyone can see you so whilst most of the day I’m wandering around in a t-shirt and grubby jeans, I have to remember to at least try to put on some lipstick. No – in fact the trickiest part of video conferencing is seeing yourself. Honestly, I think there’s a problem with the technology as I’m sure I don’t look as old as I appear!
All the hospitality staff who have not had roles since the Tasting Room and Flint Barns were closed, have headed to the vineyard to help us finish off the essential task of winter pruning, before the buds start bursting in mid-April. Luckily they seem to have brought some welcome sunny weather with them. We are really grateful to them for their flexibility and willingness to help the business out. The vineyard crew have been great at welcoming their colleagues into their world and teaching them new skills, whilst the winery staff carry on with racking, fining, blending, stabilisation, filtration and preparing wines for eventual bottling.
At Rathfinny the safety of our staff and customers if paramount and we have been vigilant in our messaging and practices for several weeks now under the superb guidance of our COO, Jamie Everett. You’ll notice that we are practising safe distancing within the vineyard.
They say every cloud has a silver lining and mine is that some of our family have moved home during this time. Whilst it’s lovely to have all of them with me, my joy is having our new granddaughter, Peggy Rose Driver, with us. She is an absolute delight. Funnily enough, whilst her grandad loves her to bits, he’s not quite so ‘hands on’! Some things don’t change!
Do keep safe, keep your distance, reach out to neighbours either for help or to offer help. This time will pass and before we know it, we will be back to normal with our new vintages to enjoy. For the first time we have the full range of our Sussex Sparkling wines, a Blanc de Blancs, a Blanc de Noirs, a Rosé and our first Classic Cuvée. Now that’s something to look forward to!!