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ASC launches Rathfinny English sparkling wine in China

Fine wine importer and distributor ASC has announced a partnership with English sparkling wine estate Rathfinny in bid to build the category in China.

ASC launches Rathfinny English sparkling wine in China

ASC Fine Wines has partnered with Rathfinny Estate on a strategic partnership to build the category of English sparkling wines in China.

ASC specialises in servicing the premium on-trade channel in China. Rathfinny Estate, which was established in 2010 by husband and wife team Mark and Sarah Driver, is looking to gain access to the fine dining sector in China’s biggest cities. The brand released its first sparkling wines in 2018, and currently has listings in the UK across The Dorchester, Dinner by Heston, The Fat Duck, Claridge’s, The Savoy, Le Gavroche, The Ritz, Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridge’s.

Rathfinny co-owner Mark Driver said of the partnership: “It has always been our aim to be one of the on-trade’s favourite English sparkling wine producer and ASC, who probably have the best reach of any wine importer are a perfect distribution partner for Rathfinny.”

He said that the distributor’s range of wines — “one of the finest portfolios” — will allow the estate’s wines “to be served in the top restaurants, bars and hotels across China”.

ASC launches Rathfinny English sparkling wine in China
Sarah and Mark Driver

The first 50 acres of vines were planted at the Rathfinny Estate in 2012, and there are now 230 acres under vine predominantly planted with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.

The Sussex-based estate’s low-intervention, traditional method, vintage sparkling wines are produced from hand-harvested grapes which are whole-bunch pressed. The wine producer is also B Corp certified, meaning it meets a high standards of social and environmental performance as well as transparency.

Mario Aron, chief operating officer of ASC Fine Wines, said of the partnership: “Mark and Sarah have shared their ambition, that not too long in the future, patrons of bars and restaurants in China will be presented with English sparkling wine representing true British lifestyle and appreciation for high quality. Of course, it’s Rathfinny. This brand fits perfectly into ASC’s fine wine aspiration. With ASC’s extensive and efficient distribution network in China, coupled with our team’s renowned professionalism, I have no doubt that Mark and Sarah’s vision will swiftly become a reality.”

Exports represented just 4% of total UK wine sales in 2021, but even this was a 21% jump on figures from the previous year, highlighting the growing potential of overseas sales for the burgeoning industry. Scandinavia was the leading market, and more specifically Norway, which alone saw 85% increase in sales in 2021. Read more on those figures here.

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