Whilst we are best known for our Traditional Method, Sussex Sparkling wines, our fizz is really just one element of who we are.
Behind the brand is our extended Rathfinny family who have helped us to achieve where we are today. It’s taken far more than a village to raise this vineyard and our talented teams are a representation of some of the best in the business from around the world. The journey of the sparkling wine that you find in your glass is a true labour of love, and we have tried to be as environmentally responsible as possible throughout the process.
The Winery building was designed by a local Sussex architect and designer, Martin Swatton and was short-listed for a RIBA award and won the 2015 Sussex Heritage Award. It was an engineering feat built up from the old silage clamp on the original Rathfinny Farm. We built up instead of digging into the ground, allowing us to use gravity to take juice from press to tank. The building is solar powered (as is Flint Barns) and we created a Bio-Bubble and borehole to treat and recycle our water supply.
The roof of our Winery is planted with a mix of local South Downs National Park grass and plant varieties. This helps with insulation and encourages biodiversity whilst allowing the building to blend sympathetically into the natural environment.
The Padovan Dynamos Rotating Ceramic Cross Flow Filter
This innovative machine allows the recovery of high quality juice lees that would otherwise be disposed of to the waste water system. It produces great juice with lots of flavour as well as reducing our environmental impact
Typically, 3-4% of the all that juice that we press ends up as lees – the clear juice is perfect for fermenting into wine – but the lees would typically go to waste water. The lees still contains great juice, but the high solid levels make it difficult to ferment. The Dynamos can reclaim the juice, and produce a waste that is 1/8 the original volume. The material is so thick it can be disposed of with our Pomace (skins/stalks/seeds) and so goes to compost rather than waste water treatment.
We’ve also signed up to the following initiatives
In April 2023, Rathfinny was the first grower-producer of sparkling wine in the world to achieve the B Corp accolade. We have joined a growing list of over 1,600 UK businesses that have achieved B Corp status. This is the gold standard for ethical and sustainable business practices, verified to high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.
per tonne of cardboard per year by changing our packaging
We all know packaging can pose environmental challenges, so we’ve recently updated ours and it’s made our shipments more efficient and eco-friendlier. Not only have we managed to reduce the size of our boxes to allow 40% more product on a pallet (which in turn reduces courier collections), but our boxes are also made from 70% recycled material, saving 836.22kg per ton of cardboard per year!
- A third of our wines are sold on the Estate so we have cut down on cardboard waste by carefully reusing our 6 bottle cases for as long as possible.
- Eliminated polypropylene strapping on pallets shipped domestically.
- Eliminated all plastic (including tape) from our ecommerce orders.
We have developed a fully integrated food safety and quality management system covering all areas of the Winery from fruit intake to finished bottles of wine. It demonstrates our strong commitment to providing high quality products which are safe, legal, authentic as well as providing excellent customer service. Our team works hard to ensure that product quality is not only maintained but is embedded into the company culture and that there is a drive for continual improvement of all aspects of quality, safety, authenticity, and legality.
We are proud to be accredited with the BRCG START! programme to ensure we are complying with the highest standards of food safety systems.
We use Mytik Diam, a high-tech type of cork, which provides the highest quality sparkling wine closure while minimising waste and losses associated with other types of seals. Additionally, a 2018 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers stated that corks were the most environmentally friendly form of wine closure with Europe’s cork oak forests being a haven for biodiversity and sustainable agriculture.
The wine production team is reducing the amount of waste generated by the Winery which is going to landfill. Currently any waste generated by the bottling and disgorging process such as caps, bidules, cardboard and plastic film is collected, sorted and stored. Depending on what the waste product is, it can then be re-purposed or recycled instead of going to landfill.
Our Winery Goals
- Whilst we have invested in a wastewater treatment facility, we are looking to invest in new technologies to reduce the amount of wastewater we generate.
- We are redesigning our gift boxes to offer a more sustainable solution.
- Upgrade our refrigeration system and reduce the risk of greenhouse gases emission associated with the refrigerants used.
- Redesign our Cradle Valley wine range to look at reducing the amount of glass, paper and plastic we use with this wine.
- Spreading the word with our visitors and customers about BCorp and the steps we are taking to be environmentally and socially responsible.
- We work closely with local schools on work placements to illustrate the diversity of our work from agronomy to chemistry and attended local career fairs to the wine industry and hospitality as excellent career paths.
- We collaborate with Plumpton College providing our expertise via guest lectures and offer their students on-site experience.
Get Nature Positive
Learn more about how we’re supporting biodiversity at Rathfinny