Plumpton tutor joins Rathfinny Estate team

Tony Milanowski, lecturer in oenology at English wine centre Plumpton College, is to join Sussex’s Rathfinny Wine Estate as its new winery manager.

Australia-born Milanowski has held his position at Plumpton for almost 12 years where he teaches MSc, BSc & FdSc wine students. He is to leave the college at the end of July to take up his new position at Rathfinny Wine Estate in August.

While at Plumpton, Milanowski has also been involved in the college’s Wine Skills programme covering the principles of vinegrowing and winemaking in a series of short courses held throughout the year. Around 350 students participate in such courses each year.

He is the author and co-author of several books and journal articles including Solar energy in the winemaking industry, Global Climate Change and Wine Safety and ‘Developments in education and research in the English wine industry’ published in the Wine & Viticulture Journal.

In a statement published on Twitter, he said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Plumpton, helping students to prepare for winemaking roles in the UK and around the world.

“I look forward to working with the Drivers and the Rathfinny Estate team.”

Rathfinny, based in East Sussex, released its first sparkling wines last year and plans to sell up to 50% of its production to key overseas markets.

Established in 2010 by husband and wife, Mark and Sarah Driver, Rathfinny’s first vines were planted in 2012.

Mark, a founding partner of the hedge fund management group Horseman Capital Management, is himself an ex-Plumpton student.

“I did a viticulture foundation degree at Plumpton to learn viticulture and that’s where it all started,” he told the drinks business during a visit to the winery last year.

The couple bought a 600-acre arable farm in Alfriston benefitting from a largely south facing aspect and chalk soils. With 74.8ha planted, predominantly Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, a further 87ha is expected to be planted by 2021, taking its total vineyard to 140 hectares and making it one of the largest single vineyard estates in the country.

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