Rathfinny Wine Estate

Pavlova of Namayasai Farm Berries, Mascarpone & Almonds


Situated close to the Rathfinny Wine Estate is Namayasai Farm, a local farm who produce the most amazing fruit and vegetables and always deliver with a friendly smile. I feel lucky to be able to cook with the ingredients and serve to our guests. That being said, you can of course source your berries for this sweet treat wherever is most convenient for you!


For the Poached Summer Berries topping:

200g Young Small Gooseberries

200g Raspberries

200g Strawberries

200g Blackcurrants

250g Sugar

250g Water

1 Vanilla Pod Case or 1 tsp of Vanilla Essence


For the Mascarpone Cream topping:

250g Double Cream

150g Mascarpone

1 Vanilla pod or 1 tsp of Vanilla Essence

150g Icing Sugar

A handful of toasted nuts of your choice


For the Meringue:

250g Egg Whites

500g Sugar

1 Vanilla pod or 1 tsp of Vanilla Essence

12.5g Vinegar



Start by preparing the poached summer berries topping.

A note from Chef – Try and cook your fruit gently to bring out the natural flavours and spice up the syrup to your liking; rose petals, lemon verbena and bay could all work nicely. You are trying to not to overcook the fruit but bring out its flavour.

  1. Heat the sugar and water up to the boil with the vanilla pod (without the seeds), otherwise use vanilla essence.
  2. Prepare the fruit separately. Start by top and tailing the gooseberries and cover with the boiling hot sugar syrup and leave them to cool. You will need the syrup liquid for the other fruit so make sure you don’t use it all! If the gooseberries are large, you may need to cook them gently over a heat for 5 minutes beforehand.
  3. Quarter the strawberries and blackcurrants and cook for approximately 3-4 minutes and cover with the syrup.
  4. Leave the raspberries whole and heat up for approx 5minutes and cover with the syrup once its been taken off the heat.


Next prepare the mascarpone cream.

  1. Sift the sugar into the cream and whip with the vanilla to soft peaks.
  2. Whip the mascarpone into a separate bowl to break it down and then mix into the cream.


Finally prepare the meringues:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 90c.
  2. Whisk the egg whites starting with 100g of the sugar then adding it slowly in five intervals until you have a glossy meringue.
  3. Add the vanilla and the vinegar with the last addition of sugar into the mixture.
  4. Using a piping bag, pipe the meringue mixture onto grease proof paper in circular shapes.
  5. Cook in the oven for one hour then turn off the oven and leave to cool completely.


Now all the elements are ready to serve:

  1. Top the meringue with the cream and then the fruit and sprinkle with toasted nuts.

Read Chris Bailey's Article

Vineyard Crew Spotlight: Jim Stanford

This is Jim Stanford. Jim is a semi-retired Nurse who has been working in the Vineyard, three days a week for the last two years. Previously, Jim spent 30 years working as a Nurse and Manager in an HIV unit in Brighton, where he continues to work a couple of days a month alongside his job at Rathfinny.

What attracted Jim to Rathfinny? The flexible working hours, stress-free work, easy commute, fresh air and beautiful countryside, partnered with a team spirit, made it the perfect first step towards retirement.

Jim is very excited to be involved in the UK’s growing wine industry and particularly enjoys learning the skill of pruning which he sees as a form of art as well as a science.

As a result of the current health crisis, Jim has recently been asked to return to nursing at his old unit on a full-time basis as the number of patients is expected to rise alongside staff shortages.

We wish you the best of luck Jim and look forward to welcoming you back to Rathfinny for harvest.

Read Cam's Article

We need to carry on as best we can…

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, however the good news is that we are still taking orders for local delivery within a 10 miles radius – please email tastingroom@rathfinnyestate.com  or contact the Cellar Door (01323) 870022.  We have also 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.

Read Sarah's Article

From Kitchen Knives to Secateurs


It will come as no surprise to you all that as of this Wednesday (18th March) in order to protect our staff and customers from spreading the Coronavirus, we have been forced to close the Tasting Room and Flint Barns. It has put considerable pressure on our business, with lost revenues and a mounting wage bill. The government is helping to bridge some of that gap with the suspension of business rates, a small grant to businesses and the provision of loans. However, loans don’t replace lost revenue and I would urge those of you who can help out your local businesses, to do so.

Read Mark's Article

Blending Trials 2020

We have been busy at the Winery over the last few weeks blending base wines from the 2019 harvest. Although it was a difficult year in terms of weather (summer, where were you?), we are very pleased with the quality of the wines produced.

When creating blends, we often use the analogy of the painter, the canvas, the tubes of paint and the palette. It is true to some extent: we have a choice of many different varieties, clones and tanks to play with. But unlike the painter who will mix blue and yellow and always create a green colour, blending wines can prove a bit unpredictable.

Read Jonathan's Article

Apple Tarte Tatin Recipe

Ingredients (serves 2)

150g caster sugar.

40ml water.

50g unsalted butter.

4 to 5 Braeburn apples.

Puff pastry (all butter or best quality you can find).



Peel 4 to 5 medium size apples, core and halve from top to bottom. We use braeburn apples but you can mix it up. (This can be done the day before as it will dry the skin which helps caramelise them. It’s fine if they turn slightly brown as this is going to happen anyway).

In a 6-inch saucepan or heavy frying pan combine the water and sugar and set over a medium heat.

Without stirring, let the sugar caramelise but watch it carefully as you want it to slightly smoke and bring a little bitterness to the caramel. You want a balance that is not too sweet but definitely not burnt!

Take it off the heat and add the butter straight away which will cool it down slightly.

Place the apple halves around the edge of the pan standing up, tucked tightly and then fill the middle with any remaining so it all holds nicely.

Caramelise the apples in the pan on a medium/low heat for five minutes then place the pan on a wire rack and chill.

Roll out the puff pastry into an 8 inch circle, roughly 4mm thick.

Place the pastry over the apples and crimp the edges as neatly or rustically as you like, tucking them in around the edges of the apple inside the pan.

Put a small cross in the middle of the pastry to release any steam.

You can now bake the tart at 180° for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is nice and golden on top.

Once it has baked, let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Place a plate over the pan and flip out the tart – being careful not to spill any of the hot caramel!

We served this with Tonka bean ice cream in the Tasting Room restaurant but it works well with almost anything similar. Serve with a glass of our Sussex Sparkling Rosé Brut.


Our Head Chef of the Tasting Room Restaurant – Chris Bailey

Read Chris Bailey's Article

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

Read Ade's Article

Vineyard Crew Spotlight: Julie Kells

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!

Read Viv's Article

Large Hadron Collider or Alcohol?

On 21st January this year I found myself all suited and booted siting in the hallowed vaulted ceiling of the Guildhall London.  Joe Fattorini, from the Wine Show, was the guest speaker to an audience comprising of students from 18 different countries.  His proclamation to the hushed room?  “There are more people that know how to work the Large Hadron Collider than have the WSET Diploma – you’ve joined wines elite.”

Read Richard's Article

Follow the Flow

When we think of sustainability, it can mean many different things to different people. Environmental, socio-economic, financial. They all have their place but what is really important to a vineyard is the sustainability of the vines and their long-term future.

Pruning can make a huge difference to the longevity of a vine’s life and its architecture: its structure, branching and canopy. A few wrong cuts over time and the vine won’t be in a good way, the reason is that every cut will cause dieback, where the vine heals itself. Learning to prune is not a simple process, and even though most people will pick up the basics in a few hours it takes a lifetime to master.

Read Cam's Article

Happy New Year!

It’s the start of a new decade and I’ve been reflecting about our journey that started almost 10 years ago – it’s hard to believe. If I’m very honest, last year was very hard work.  Not that the earlier years weren’t, but it was hard in a different way.  From 2010-2018 we were so focused on just doing what had to be done.  Vines to be ordered, early staff to be recruited, buildings to be renovated and a winery to be designed and built.  The vines arrived and then we needed to put in the trellising and wires, deal with planning issues, start to design and plan the Flint Barns, work out a waste water plant all alongside developing a brand, stationery, cards and a logo.  More staff were recruited and suddenly we had an accounts team and a growing back office.

Read Sarah's Article

2019 Harvest- Over!

2019 has been one of those years where it all looked like everything was going to be great and easy and then the weather had other ideas right at the last minute.
The season was generally ok, nothing like 2018 but a fairly good one for the UK with above average temperatures for most of the year. Then it all suddenly turned in September, bringing us the first wet and at times challenging harvest in the history of Rathfinny.

Read Cam's Article