Rathfinny strikes distribution deal with Gonzalez Byass ahead of first English fizz releases

Gonzalez Byass UK has been appointed to handle the UK distribution for Sussex wine producer Rathfinny Estate.

Rathfinny was set up by ex-hedge fund manager Mark Driver and his wife – and former City of London solicitor – Sarah in 2010 and is due to release its first sparkling wines in 2018.

The vineyard, near the village of Alfriston, is already one of the largest in England.

Gonzalez Byass UK managing director Martin Skelton said: “Rathfinny will become one of England’s most important sparkling wine producers and my colleagues and I are excited to be a part of that journey.

“I really admire what Mark and Sarah have achieved: the attention to detail in every aspect of the brand, their empathy in including the local community in their project, together with their foresight and energy in furthering the category by driving the Sussex Protected Designation of Origin.”

Mark Driver said: “Once we met with Martin and the team, we felt an immediate affinity and knew right away they understood our brand.”

Sarah Driver added: "Our business revolves around building relationships and our partnership feels right.

"We very much admire the other family-owned producers in the portfolio, most of whom have been with them for many years. In addition, we have close ties with Spain so the connection feels very natural.”

Rathfinny’s first releases will be a Blanc de Blancs and a Rosé and will be available from June of next year.

The Sussex wine firm joins a portfolio of that includes Quinta do Noval port, Champagne Deutz, Alsace producer Domaine Zind Humbrecht and Australia’s Wirra Wirra.