It was bright sunny day at Rathfinny on Friday 14th May when we welcomed the Rt.Hon.Dr Vincent Cable MP to officially open our Winery.
Dr Cable had stopped half-way up our track to give one of our neighbours a lift and he arrived, without pomp or ceremony, driving his own car, with John Webb in the passenger seat.
We had invited various friends and neighbours from the local area to join us to celebrate the opening of the Winery and the beginning of the next phase for Rathfinny. Now the Winery is ready, for what we hope will be a small harvest this year, and the Flint Barns and the new entrance way are nearing completion, we are moving on from what I consider was the investment stage onto the fun part – making wine.
So after teas and coffees and brief speeches Dr Cable revealed a plaque commemorating the occasion.
We then went on a tour of the Winery and we had a delicious lunch in the Winery Tasting Room.
It was a brilliant day and great way to celebrate all that has been achieved over the last three and half years at the Rathfinny Wine Estate.
Thank you guys
Mark and Sarah Driver
As Mark and I are planning a visit to Champagne soon to look at bottling, disgorging and labelling equipment, I am still wondering what method and which equipment I will be using to “cold stabilise” the wines, to ensure that tartrate crystals do not appear. Remember, crystals in a sparkling wine usually mean that as you open the bottle you’ll lose half of it because it’s going to gush.
Previously we looked at electro-dialysis, which, in my opinion, is a proven, efficient method (colleagues around the world agree). The machine is quite simple to use, and as long as it is properly set up, it should function without problem. One downfall to this method, however, is that it requires a lot of water.
Nowadays, more than ever, wineries are dedicated to act responsibly and in a sustainable way. Sustainability involves water conservation. England might not be suffering from an enduring drought as California has lately, but water is still a resource that needs to be used sensibly. Electro-dialysis also requires energy in order to run (i.e. electricity).
More and more, producers are now using CMC (Carboxymethyl Cellulose) for cold stabilisation. It is cellulose gum, which is a natural compound originally found in wood’s cellulose.
If you are conscientious about what you ingest, you might have seen the food additive E466 somewhere on a label. That’s CMC, used as a thickener and emulsifier—possibly in other ways too.
CMC, after bench trials in the lab, gets added to the wine and modifies the structure of the crystals, inhibiting further crystallisation. Thus far, it has proven to be quite efficient, provided that proper testing of both the composition of the wine and the amount of CMC to add was adequately performed.
CMC may well prove an effective, cost efficient, alternative to electro-dialysis for the cold stabilisation of sparkling wine—I am eager to test this as soon as we can.
Jonathan Médard – Winemaker