Work to create the largest vineyard in Britain has begun on a 400 acre plot which is close to Lewes. In recent years the number of serious winegrowers in the UK has dramatically increased and the latest addition to these is going to be Rathfinney Estate.
The estate has been founded by Mark Driver, a former worker in the City, and he stated that he hopes to be able to produce around 1 million bottles of wine every year. He expects that the first wines will be ready to drink by 2017.
In order to purchase the land he paid £16,000 for every hectare and he has commented, “This is going to be the largest estate in the country, but I am well aware that it is more important that we produce quality wine, rather than just a lot of it. I am an enormous fan of wine and I’m very excited about working on this new project.
He continued, “I used to work in Hong Kong and during this time I took a trip to New Zealand where I first fell in love with the idea of making wine. This is something that remained mostly a dream for me until a few years ago when I left my City job. The financial markets were taking a tumble and I decided it was time to head into a different industry.”
Other wines in the area have been receiving a great deal of international acclaim. Ridgeview, another wine made in Sussex, has won the trophy for best sparkling wine three years out of the last seven. Mr Driver continued, “Sussex is an area that is taken seriously in wine and we think we are going to be able to compete with the best in the near future.”