We’ve finished our harvest and it was completely wonderful. Not only did we have a bumper crop, over twice what was harvested last year, but we had so many other things to celebrate. As Mark mentioned in a previous blog we had a super team of local pickers come and join us. Mark was away the first morning of harvest so it fell to me to do a rousing, welcoming speech.
We started harvesting our great crop of wonderful ripe grapes on Monday and since then our team of mostly local workers has picked over 80 tonnes of fruit.
I say mostly because we’re very proud to have recruited nearly 100 people from the local area to pick grapes.. something we were told we wouldn’t be able to do. Read this article in The Times, click here. You’d think that the Brits are lazy or that picking fruit is beneath them!
We also have over a dozen people staying in our Flint Barns who have come from further afield: A father and son from Canada and Dubai, and as far away as Aberdeen and Nottingham, Worthing and London.
This isn’t a casual brag, but I went to a wine tasting in London the other day billed as the ‘biggest wine tasting in Europe’. It was given by the premium glass manufacturer, Riedel, by the eleventh-generation CEO himself, Maximilian Riedel.
In my delusional mind it was going to be an intimate affair, with me and a handful of other world-class wine writers. There were in fact hundreds of people in attendance, which made me feel so special. Like me, all had been lured by the title of the event, “A Tasting to find The Perfect Champagne Glass”.
Mark and I had a lovely evening last week, hosted by the Rotary Club in Eastbourne. They invited us to talk about Rathfinny and we did as a ‘double act’. We’ve given a fair few talks now and have settled into Mark talking about the wine and the vineyard, with me talking about our ‘engagement with the public’ side of the business – the Flint Barns, Sunday lunches, tours, Gun Room and events generally. Obviously, as is our want, we interrupt each other as we go along.
We are getting ready for harvest: all winemaking supplies are in and we have started to go through a thorough cleaning of the winery as we do every year.
At the same time, what we used to call the “on-lees storage”, the part of the winery that was dedicated to storing the ageing bottles from previous vintages, has been removed. The temporary walls have been taken down so now the whole ground floor of the winery is again one large open space. We also need to remove the very large AC unit, which used to cool down that space.
This week saw national Cycle to Work day which was an excellent excuse for me to ride my bike (again).
Fit, healthy, hard working pickers needed for our Harvest in October. No experience necessary but a love of the outdoors and willingness to work hard and get the job done essential.
We have a long list of people who have either worked at Rathfinny in the past or they have contacted us over the last year to say that they are keen to help out over harvest, but we are still keen to hear from anyone else.
I’m delighted to announce that our 2016 Cradle Valley Pinot Blanc : Pinot Gris has been passed as a ‘Sussex’ wine under the new PDO scheme now going through the European Commission in Brussels.
The new PDO scheme stipulates that the grapes have to come from Sussex and the wine has to be made in Sussex, so ensuring ‘provenance’. However, more importantly, it means the wine has gone through an
What with spraying, trimming, spraying, nets to go on, spraying, oh and some more spraying.
It’s been a busy few weeks on the vineyard, and with a man down having a back operation (Ian- get well soon) it’s been all hands to the pump.
We are a step closer to establishing ‘Sussex’ as a quality marque for wine, as DEFRA have submitted the PDO application to the European Commission. It will now go out to consultation with all EU member states and become a protected name under the EU GI scheme. It’s official, it’s on the DEFRA website.
We just bottled our 2016 sparkling wines, around 43,000 bottles and 3,200 magnums. Until this year we had been bottling at 2,500 bottles per hour, which worked fine for smaller production. We are now starting to get volumes of wine that require higher speed for bottling and this is the kind of equipment we have been looking at for when the time comes to purchase.
We are half way through our summer season of pop up restaurants at Rathfinny Wine Estate. We’ve welcomed many guests to our Winery Tasting Room to enjoy food created by some incredible chefs. Corks have been popped, eggs have been cracked and bellies have been filled.
After another stint of sailing we are both back and getting used to life on dry land. It’s not hard to do with all this lovely weather we are having. Look how well the vines and grapes are doing …
It was full on last weekend with Alfest, the festival that showcases Sussex food and wine along with music on the Tye in our local village, Alfriston. We sponsored and set this up last year together with our award-winning neighbours, Longman Brewery and the Star Inn . It was an absolutely fantastic day with delicious
So if you read Sarah’s recent blog you’ll know that for the last three months I’ve been fulfilling a childhood ambition to sail across the Pacific. Not to outdone by my youngest son who is on a gap year before heading to Manchester University in September, I thought I’d take the opportunity to travel before we launch our first sparkling wine next year. We set off from Cartagena in Colombia, passed through the Panama Canal to the Galapagos Islands and then on to French Polynesia. It was the most amazing trip and so much has happened since I’ve been away, we stayed in the most beautiful place, you can View the resort here if you are interested.