Meet David. David joined Rathfinny for Harvest 2019. This was a big change from his previous career in newspaper management as Managing Editor of the Today newspaper, Syndication Director for News International and, in more recent times, setting up a number of small businesses.
Having always had a great interest in wine (and not just the end product), it was only natural that David signed up for harvest. Thankfully for us, the monsoon conditions of 2019 did not put him off the outdoor work – in fact, he felt quite the opposite.
When harvest was over David immediately put his name down to join the winter pruning team, wanting to continue to be involved with Rathfinny and learn much more viticulture. He feels it is a privilege to be part of an eclectic team of people from different backgrounds but all share common purpose. The collective team spirit is so strong, that despite the routine nature of the work, he embraces every day in the Vineyard, surrounded by the natural serenity of the Sussex Downs.
David is excited to be part of Rathfinny as the brand achieves further accolades for their wines in the UK and internationally.
Thank you David!
Judith wasn’t expecting a complete career change when she originally signed up for Harvest 2015. However, having enjoyed working harvest, she joined the pruning team in January 2016 and has been at Rathfinny ever since.
Having previously worked in admin (for Eastbourne DGH and Moira House Girls school), Judith now loves working outdoors and experiencing the diversity of the weather. This year the winter was very wet but Judith is now loving the warmer, sunny weather and the active and stress-free nature of Vineyard work.
The flexible working hours enable Judith to also work in the Tasting Room, selling wine in the Cellar Door and facilitating wine tastings which enables her to pass on her knowledge of the Vineyard. In 2017 Judith passed a WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) Level 2 qualification. This was something she had never envisaged happening in her fifties and really appreciates the opportunity to learn so much about the wine industry. Judith noted; “it’s great to be a part of the growing success of English wine”.
Judith has also been able to work alongside her son Bailey and daughter Nadia who have worked in the Vineyard for the past five years during their holidays from college and university so it has felt like a family affair at times.
Meet Sarah. Sarah’s addition to our Vineyard crew was long in the making. Having previously missed the opportunity to work at a vineyard while she was living in Australia, Sarah was delighted to discover Rathfinny was nearby when she moved to Seaford 2 years ago and welcomed the chance to get involved with Harvest 2019. Sarah enjoyed the work so much she has continued to work during the pruning season and is now enjoying learning other aspects of vineyard maintenance.
Sarah particularly enjoys the outdoor physical nature of the work, along with a positive team spirit and continued to meet up with friends she met during Harvest last year.
Sarah works 5 days a week which allows for playing rugby for the Sussex Police team at the weekends. Thank you for all of your hard work Sarah!
Meet Julie. Having previously enjoyed running a delicatessen, Julie endured a difficult year and felt the time was right to make a change to her lifestyle, which timed perfectly with joining Rathfinny’s 2019 Harvest team. Since then, Julie has enjoyed working with the team of brilliant characters who spend a lot of time laughing as they pass each other in the vines.
It’s the stunning scenery and wildlife that Julia particularly enjoys, together with the flexibility to work the hours that suit her. She hasn’t looked back regretfully on her career change. Although Julie hasn’t yet completed a full year on the Vineyard, she is loving the spring which makes working in the South Downs particularly special. What’s more, during the difficult times of the COVID-19 outbreak, Julie is thankful to be able to work in the fresh air and alongside the dedicated team, even though the social distancing is very much in place!
Julie is very supportive of British industries and feels privileged to be part of a growing wine industry in the UK, particularly sparkling wine which rivals the long-established prestige of Champagne.
Meet David. In a past life, David worked as a bond trader in London for 27 years and during that time he had an 11 acre vineyard at his home in Wadhurst. Unfortunately, long hours at work meant he had very little time to get involved and enjoy the vineyard, but he did develop an interest and a belief in the potential of Sussex wine.
David was attracted to Rathfinny from a desire to work locally in the fresh air and was intrigued and impressed by the commitment and passion shown by the owners.
Like many of the Vineyard crew, the flexible hours suit David because he can balance family commitments with his fledgling mobile coffee van business. He actually likes working in all weathers (this winter has been tough at times but is now battle-hardened!), he prefers it when there are no gales and the sun is out!
The team come from all walks of life and David loves hearing about their very interesting and diverse previous exploits, “there is a great team spirit and a general feeling of happiness and contentment!”
At Rathfinny, we aim to support a skilled and local workforce which has been at the heart of our mission since Mark and Sarah Driver established the Estate in 2010. In our 10-year anniversary, we will be shining a light on some of our hard working casual staff who have found themselves drawn to our Vineyard for many different reasons and take a hands on approach to the essential jobs required to cultivate our vines. After all, you cannot make excellent wine from poor quality grapes.
Rathfinny Crew: Julie Kells
Meet Julie. Julie started working for Rathfinny during the 2019 harvest and loved the work so much she decided to continue working over winter during the vital pruning season. After serving as a member of cabin crew for 40 years, Julie was attracted to working in a stunning open landscape and fresh air. Despite some challenging weather conditions this year, Julie enjoys the diversity of the team, camaraderie and motivational spirit that propels them forward.
As a casual member of staff, the flexible hours suit Julie as she can choose to work three days a week which fits around her voluntary job at the local food bank and looking after her grandchildren.
Thank you for your work Julie and for being such as wonderful member of the Rathfinny community!