Rathfinny aims to sell up to 50% of its production to key overseas markets

Sussex wine estate Rathfinny has announced that it is aiming to sell up to 50% of its production to key overseas markets as it builds up to the release of its first sparkling wines, a blanc de blancs and a rosé, this year.

Image: Rathfinny Estate

Established in 2010, the family-owned estate based in Alfriston, which currently sells a still Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc blend under the Cradle Valley label, is due to release its first sparklers in June this year.

An international export plan will see the Sussex winery sell up to 50% of its production to key overseas markets in Europe, Asia and North America immediately upon release.

The winery will release its Rathfinny Blanc de Blancs 2014, which has been aged for three years on its lees, in the summer. A representative for the Rathfinny Estate told db that they had tried blending in a bit of Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc to the Chardonnay, but “thought the wine showed better without these additional components”.

Also due to be released is the Rathfinny Rosé 2015, a blend of 66% Pinot Noir, 14% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay, that like the blanc de blancs, has gone through 100% malolactic fermentation.

According to the estate, the new wines will be targeted at premium on-trade and independent off-trade accounts.

Rathfinny planted its first 60,000 vines on a 20ha site in April 2012. It has now planted over 230,000 vines across 75ha and has plans to plant out a further 91 hectares of vines, which is expected to produce over 1,200 tonnes of grapes by 2020 to 2022.

The estate aims to establish an additional 30,000 Chardonnay vines, 12,000 Pinot Meunier vines and 8,000 Pinot Noir vines.

According to Rathfinny, if it achieves its goals, it will make it “one of Europe’s most significant, single site vineyard and wine producers”.

It has invested in a number of new facilities including a processing building and storage facility which are both currently under construction. The estate estimates that both buildings will be operational by the spring.

In addition to the blanc de blancs and rosé sparkling wines, the estate will release a blancs de noirs in 2019 and a classic cuvée/premium reserve NV in 2020. It will also produce a vintage blend in years which are deemed exceptional.

In September last year, Rathfinny’s Cradle Valley 2016 became the first ‘Sussex’ wine to be approved under the new Sussex Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) scheme.

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