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New English winery aims to be “one of Europe’s largest”

Rathfinny Estate also wants to set a new standard in sustainable wine production.

The Rathfinny Estate in Sussex aims to become one of Europe’s largest vineyards and wine producers, but has also put environmental care high on its agenda.

The first 60,000 vines were planted over 50 acres in March this year and plans are in place to cover a further 350 acres over the next seven years. By 2020 the estate expects to produce over 1,200 tonnes of grapes, creating nearly one million bottles of sparking wine every year.

Further to its plans for production the estate aims to become, “one of the most high-tech and environmentally friendly wineries in the world”.

Rathfinny is aiming to provide a sustainable infrastructure to support the vineyard and all the estate’s buildings feature locally-sourced oak and flint. Ground water is being sourced from the estate’s own bore hole and waste water used within the winemaking process will be treated on site and released back onto the land.

Rathfinny has also worked with the National Trust and Natural England to create “wildlife corridors” and other ways of improving the local natural habitat and biodiversity.

Furthermore the winery will feature a grass roof seeded with South Downs’ grassland and with a bank of photovoltaic solar panels it will be energy self sufficient.

Owner Mark Driver said: “We acquired the Rathfinny Estate in October 2010 after a long search for land in southern England specifically to grow grapes.

“Every aspect of the construction of the winery has been designed to produce the highest-quality sparkling wine.

“We have taken an uncompromising approach to ensure that it will be one of the most high-tech and environmentally friendly wineries in the world.”

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