Rathfinny Wine Estate

There’s been a lot going on … and more to come!

I confess I missed a blog a few weeks ago. There was just too much going on and sometimes you have to say I just can’t do that. It was one of those times.

This year has been full on starting with Millie and me going to France to sort out our foils, then finalising the design of our labels, getting them printed, re-doing and up-dating all our assets – everything from signatures, letterheads, the website – organising our trade launch, preparing for the visit by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne to open our new buildings and in all of this, our son Brook got married both in Hackney and here at Rathfinny. As I said, it’s been very busy.

So it was a huge treat to be invited by The Savoy, along with all our staff, to their Royal Wedding Afternoon Tea where our Rathfinny Sussex Sparkling is being served. Here I am with the Gun Room team. I think it’s true to say that we all had to keep pinching ourselves to actually be drinking our wine in this world renowned hotel. It was also an opportunity to say good-bye and thank you to Alison Cowley, who has managed our Gun Room so exceptionally well. We will miss her.


That gave us all a pause before our next big event – the opening of the Tasting Room and Cellar Door on the Estate, which happens tomorrow. We will be offering tastings of our still wine and our Sussex Sparkling wines (Blanc de Blancs 2014 and Rosé 2015) while stocks last. There’s the opportunity to order delicious snacks or to stay for lunch (Wednesday to Sunday) or dinner (Friday and Saturday). Our Tasting Room chef, Chris Bailey (some of you will remember him from the pop-ups last year) has put together a truly stunning menu that will change on a regular basis, using fresh, seasonal, local produce . We do recommend booking and all the details are on the website. There’s also the opportunity to buy our wines, though as we’ve said before our stock is very limited, so we are limiting sales to a bottle of each, per person. That way, we are hoping that more people get to try what we’ve produced and remember, next year we will have more! We’ll have Rosé and Blanc de Noirs. In all of this, please bear with us. This is the first time we’ve opened a restaurant and a cellar door!

Now we have had some amazing coverage at Rathfinny, especially recently, that we are very grateful for. However, it was with some surprise that I read the article in the Evening Standard last night describing my husband’s single-handed efforts in buying and establishing our vineyard. Goodness, I thought, what have I been doing for the last 8 years?! We did have a lot of this sort of reporting – ex-hedge fund manager sets up vineyard – at the beginning until my daughters asked why, when I co-own the Estate, work just as much as Mark, that this sort of thing happens. Well it just does. You never see ‘ex-City lawyer, Chair of Literacy Charity and juggling mother of 4 sets up vineyard!’ Now before you think I’m whining about this – it matters. If we (I include men in this, and Mark is very supportive of my gripes most of the time) don’t draw attention to this sort of narrative, nothing will change. Our daughters will grow up under-paid and under-valued and equally importantly, our sons will never be able to be carers in their families if their partners aren’t paid and valued as they should be.

Enough of the rant! We look forward to seeing you at Tasting Room and Cellar door.



  • Congratulations to you all – and a nice rant, Sarah! We love the Cradle Valley white and hope to come up and see you sometime.

    • Many thanks Anna – a rant always makes you feel better, hope to see you soon, the 2017 Cradle Valley will be released in July and is delicious!

  • Great article Sarah and well done for calling out the Evening Standard reporting. We have a tasting tour and night booked at your vineyard next Friday and I can’t wait to look around and enjoy your wine. Hopefully we’ll be able to have dinner too. Well done on all you have accomplished.

  • Dear Sarah,

    That’s not a rant; it’s a valid comment on a poor piece of journalism. The Evening Standard should print an apology, or at least a correction. They should also spell Blanc de Blancs properly.

    Well done to Rathfinny for making such a huge success of your estate and for adding yet another bright star to the English wine firmament.

  • Dear Sarah,

    Hear hear, quite right, your views are shared. Keep up the hard work, well not too hard. The results speak for themselves. Love it.

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