“Our ambition is that in twenty years’ time you will walk into a bar or restaurant in New York or Beijing and you’ll be asked, “would you like a glass of Champagne or a delicious glass of Sussex? I can recommend Rathfinny.”

Mark & Sarah Driver, Rathfinny Owners

Rathfinny Owners Mark and Sarah Driver
How it all began

THE RATHFINNY VISION

Husband and wife, Mark and Sarah Driver, established the Rathfinny Wine Estate in 2010 on a working arable farm with the express intention of producing some of the world’s finest quality sparkling wines.

Our vision is about a great deal more than the production of outstanding Sussex Sparkling wine. Rathfinny aims to contribute something special to the unique spirit of place in this beautiful part of the South Downs, which has been farmed since medieval times.

New Plantings Overlooking Seven Sisters
Where it all began

THE PERFECT LOCATION

Did you know the Romans claimed that the best location to plant a vineyard was three miles from the sea? So here we are: located on the same band of chalk that forms the Paris Basin, running from Northern France into Southern England. This breath-taking south-facing slope in the South Downs of Sussex is one of England’s exceptional natural landscapes. The climate, chalk, soil and aspect make it the perfect site for producing world-class sparkling wine.

The Estate’s vines and trellises are being stitched into the past and growing out of the chalky soil into the future. The land, the existing buildings on the Estate, our local workforce and the communities around Rathfinny are as important as the wine produced.
Social Distanced Vineyard Maintenance
Location

Rathfinny’s first 50 acres of vines were planted in 2012. We eventually expect to have 350 acres under vines. We've planted three principal grape varieties – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier as well as a small amount of Pinot Gris.

Cam and Stan on the Vineyard 2019
Craft

The time-honoured methods for making sparkling wine, developed over centuries in the Champagne region of France and elsewhere, are being adopted and refined at Rathfinny under the watchful eye of our experienced team.

As we reach the crown of the hill, a green and pleasant Sussex landscape is revealed: a sun-soaked, slanting bowl of 600 acres, protected from the prevailing winds by an escarpment of National Trust land. In the distance, blue and magnificent is the English Channel. This is Rathfinny Estate … 

Sunday Telegraph

harvest
INVESTMENT IN THE WINE INDUSTRY

Rathfinny has always been committed to developing a local skilled workforce and we are extremely proud that the investment in time and training has given us a team of all ages and backgrounds, to support us in the expansion of the Vineyard and the Winery. We have also sponsored the construction of the Rathfinny Research Winery, part of the Plumpton College Wine Research Centre, which will further strengthen the industry’s knowledge and skills base.

Wildflower Corridors
CARING FOR OUR ENVIRONMENT

Rathfinny’s new buildings are constructed with locally-sourced materials, using sustainable technologies such as photovoltaic cells and wastewater recycling. We have worked with Natural England, the National Trust and the South Downs National Park to implement a programme of improvements to enhance wildlife habitats, while reviving and reclaiming areas of natural chalk grassland and creating wildlife corridors to improve biodiversity.

Planting Vines

2010

Estate established by Mark and Sarah Driver

Rathfinny First planting

2012

First vines planted

Harvest 2014

2014

Rathfinny first harvest & fermentation

Bottling Team Member Wearing Mask

2015

Bottling & 2nd fermentation

Refuel Terrace Small Plates and Sparkling

2018

First release of Sussex Sparkling wine!

Sussex Sparkling Portfolio

2020

Full range of vintage Sussex Sparkling released

The Rathfinny project is not just about making wine: we are committed to supporting the wider ambitions of the English wine industry, and that means nurturing the skills required to fulfil its potential.

Mark Driver