Rathfinny Wine Estate

Caramelised Onion Soup Recipe

Recipe serves 8 and is suitable for vegetarians. Gluten-free option


2 tablespoons of extra virgin rapeseed oil.

2kg of white onion, thinly sliced.

4 garlic cloves, grated.

250ml Cradle Valley white wine.

2.5l good quality vegetable stock.

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard.

1 teaspoon cumin seeds.

1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated.

4-8 slices French bread (depending on size), toasted.

280g Olde Sussex Cheddar, finely grated.


Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan. Add 2kg of thinly sliced onions with a pinch of sea salt and the cumin seeds and fry on a low heat with the lid on for approximately 1 hour approx until soft, stirring frequently.

The onions should be really golden, full of flavour and soft when pinched between your fingers. Take care towards the end to ensure that they don’t burn.

Add the 4 grated garlic cloves, Dijon mustard, nutmeg and Cradle Valley wine and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Increase the heat and keep stirring as you gradually add the vegetable stock. Cover and simmer for 15-20 mins.

Toast 4-8 slices of French bread (or any bread of your choice). Ladle the soup into heatproof bowls. Put a slice or two of toast on top of the bowls of soup, and pile on 140g finely grated Olde Sussex Cheddar. Grill until melted. Alternatively, you can complete the toasts under the grill, then serve them on top.

Enjoy with a glass of our Cradle Valley Pinot Blanc Pinot Gris wine.

Our Flint Barns chefs – Mark & Marcin

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Thursday 9th July, 19:00 - 22:30 Summer Astronomy Evening – The Northern Lights Delights £47.50

We have the pleasure in once again collaborating with our friend and neighbour, Jane Green, for what promises to be another exciting evening.

This time, Jane will share her recent bucket list odyssey when she witnessed the Northern Lights. As well as giving an insight into the delights of Lapland, Jane shares her trip deep into the wilderness of the Arctic Circle, taking us on an insightful journey into the origins of the glorious aurora borealis on not just this planet but other planets in the solar system too.

Add to this an opportunity of seeing the wonders of the summer constellations and stunning Milky Way Galaxy from Rathfinny’s unique panoramic viewing platform, and we have the recipe for yet another unforgettable evening’s viewing. So, we thought, why not capitalise with an evening of astronomy in the perfect setting of our Flint Barns?

The event will start with a summery Seven Sisters gin cocktail and a short talk about Rathfinny’s progress and development. Our Flint Barns team will then serve a 3-course set menu and the evening of astronomy will begin.

We are offering a 10% discount off Flint Barns bedrooms on Thursday 23rd so why not fully relax and stay over after dinner? To enquire about availability please email flintbarns@rathfinnyestate.com


Location. The Flint Barns

February Ingredient of the Month: Rhubarb

We asked Mark & Marcin, our Flint Barns chefs, their ingredient of the month for February…

Why rhubarb? Forced New Seasons Rhubarb is just coming into season and is a real treat at this time of the year. It is the first British fruit of the year and is tender with a beautiful pink colour and delicate flavour.

Where do you source it from? Forced New Seasons Rhubarb is traditionally sourced from the “Yorkshire Triangle” using traditional harvesting methods.

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Cold, Crisp Mornings

I love these cold, clear, crisp mornings where I am up early and out with Spike for a walk around the vines. It’s so amazing just how quick the vineyard team are pruning and tying back the vines ready for the year ahead. It’s also amazing to see the early morning sunrise. The picture below was taken by the Flint Barns this week – what a stunning view to wake up to!

It is a hugely exciting year for all of us at Rathfinny, as I’m sure you are aware we are releasing our first Sussex Sparkling wines this year and I for one can’t wait. It’s what we’ve all been working toward these past few years and the time is nearly here.

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Exciting Times Ahead

It’s Friday 7th April and what a glorious day it is! The weather forecast indicates it’s going to be a great weekend which is perfect for us and our guests at the Flint Barns. We have a 50th birthday celebration here this weekend with the local band Kindred Spirt playing both nights along with a big BBQ on Saturday night. The Flint Barns are the ideal location for these kind of events – if you are interested then contact our events team on events@rathfinnyestate.com for further details.

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Half Term Happenings

Is it me or did this half term holiday seem to come round really very quickly? Looking at the BBC weather forecast for the next week it looks like it could be bright and sunny, but chilly. That sounds like perfect weather for getting out and about – why not come and have a good ramble on the Rathfinny Trail and pop in to our café for a well-deserved hot drink and piece of cake or even come up for a tasty lunch?  The café will be open 10am to 4pm every day over the half term period, why not lounge by a log fire with the daily newspapers.

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Winter’s arrived

It’s great to see that all the flooding that has been around Alfriston is starting to dissipate, from our view on the hill it looked like the whole Cuckmere Valley was one big lake. Thankfully the wind and rain has abated this week and we are seeing more traditional wintery days now. It’s a little bit too chilly though for Spike, so we might have to buy him one of those little dog jackets – Rathfinny branded of course!! Apparently Jamie’s Springer Spaniel has a quilted puffer jacket but he’s not admitting to it!

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Log fires & Sunday Papers

We had our first Sunday Roast at the Flint Barns on Sunday 15th November, the lunch was a sell out and a total of 27 people came to enjoy all the lovely facilities here at the Barns and, of course, the rather scrummy roast that was cooked by Mark and his team and served beautifully by Phil, Jane & Alisha. It was a great success!  We have another roast this Sunday, 29th November, and the menu is below. We have 6 spaces spare so if you’d like to come and join us then please call me on 01323 874 030 or email flintbarns@rathfinnywineestate.com. You can arrive early if you want to have a cuppa or a glass of Cradle Valley, sit and read the Sunday papers in front of the wood burner and finish off the day with our own Raffy Hot Choc – plenty of calories but you know you’re worth it!

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Exciting Times

Harvest at Rathfinny isn’t far away now and there is a buzz of excitement going on around the Estate. I hope to get out in the vines to give a hand with this year’s harvest at some stage.  There’s also a buzz going on at the Flint Barns, last weekend was our busiest in the café with over 80 people coming to enjoy the Rathfinny Trail, great food, stunning views, a chilled bottle of our Cradle Valley wine and of course our friendly staff. The cafe will still be open until Sunday 1st November every Friday, Saturday & Sunday 10am to 4pm – why not pop over and pay us a visit. We are also going to be open every day during the half term week 26th Oct – 30th Oct.

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Summer Perambulations

I was out last night with a couple of my Rathfinny colleagues, we went out on a nice little bike ride around High & Over and then to Firle Beacon, down to the Old Coach Road and back to Alfriston – we stopped in one of the locals and had a great beer from the local Longman Brewery, a perfect evening! High & Over is a truly great place for walking too – often Spike & I can be found around there having our evening walks that lead down to the Rathfinny Trail, which is a fantastic walk around some of the vines and past the Flint Barns, all the signage is in place to guide you along the trail and you end up walking to the Flint Barns Café.

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Gathering momentum

As I write this blog I’m on my way to Cornwall for a week’s break in Treyarnon near Padstow. I used to work in Treyarnon Bay and have fond memories of the area and people; I’m certainly going to try a couple of bottles of Camel Valley whilst I’m there along with a few other Cornish tipples. It’s been hectic on the Estate since the New Year and the Flint Barns have been no exception to this.  We’ve launched our new website www.flintbarns.com and this has had over 1000 views already and with the website going live, we also launched the online booking engine and this has already been busy.

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Exciting times!

Hello everyone, it’s my favourite season of the year, spring is just around the corner and so is the opening of the fabulous Flint Barns. I’m super excited to be able to tell you all that our first weekend of opening will be 27th & 28th February. To begin with the Flint Barns will be open only on the weekends or during the week for large groups or exclusive hire. For further details or to make an online booking our website is now live so please visit the website here.

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I spent most of the festive period on the Estate. It was a quiet time for me and gave me time to reflect on what has been achieved in restoring the Flint Barns to what we have today. So much hard work, dedication and passion has been put in by so many people. It also gave me time to think about the exciting future ahead for us all here on the Estate.

The main news is that the Flint Barns website is about to go live!  You will soon be able to see how gorgeous it is inside, get information on the accommodation available, at reasonable prices, read about our locally sourced, home made food and make a plan to come and visit this ‘home away from home.’  It’s ideally placed for those who want to visit the area and walk the South Downs.  At the moment there’s contact information for bookings but you’ll be able to do it online from the end of January.

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Dickensian Night

A couple of weeks ago it was Dickensian night in Alfriston village, the Dickensian event is held every year late on in November. All the shops and community take part with many people dressing up in authentic clothing of alpaca fabric which is kind of warm but great for a good winter; the high street is full of events and stalls to suit everyone, young and old.  The Gun Room was open for everyone to come in and either browse the products in the shop, talk to the staff about Rathfinny Wine Estate, The Flint Barns or try some of our special “Cloves Spiced Sussex Sparkling” Everyone had a great evening telling all of the people about the exciting developments at the estate.


On Friday, 14th November, we held our Harvest Staff Dinner at the Flint Barns. To start off with a full team meeting was held to discuss present & future plans and also to answer the questions that some of us had, it was a great meeting that was really informative, it will be something we will certainly conduct twice a year in the future. After the team meeting everyone went their separate ways to get changed and pick up their partners for our meal. It is the first time I have be here when all the staff and their partners are all together, a really fun evening was had by everyone.

The website for the Flint Barns is coming along nicely and I hope to have the pages up and running in a week or so & I’m really hoping to be open and ready for bookings by 9th & 10th January 15

Spike, my Parsons, absolutely loves life on the Estate, he’s never had so much to dig for, to chase, to bark at or even to run away from – when the seagulls gang up and go for him he’s off. A couple of weeks ago a new terrier moved in on another part of the estate, Harry is his name and at the moment they are just getting used to each other but have great fun running around chasing each other, certainly tires Spike out.


Whilst working in the Gun Room on Dickensian Day I managed to have a good look around the products of the shop, my favourite candles are still there but selling quickly.  There is also a fantastic range of new food products, they are certainly worth a look at as I’m sure they would make fabulous little stocking filler with Christmas just around there corner.

Don’t forget the Gun Room is having an “Open House” this Sunday 7th December with 10% off the prices; it’s certainly worth popping in to view.

I won’t be back until 2015, so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a fabulous Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Adrian Lamb – Flint Barns Manager

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