Harvest at Rathfinny Estate

The Sussex vineyard opens to the public for a unique grape-picking experience

There’s no better way to enjoy a drink than when you feel you’ve really earned it. At the Rathfinny Estate, a Sussex vineyard that produces some of the finest English sparkling wine, you can quite literally earn your right to a glass (or three) by taking part in the annual harvesting weeks.

Guests are invited to stay in the lovely on-site barns on a full-board basis for a minimal accommodation cost, easily covered by the hourly payment for participating in the grape-picking experience. It’s hard work, of course, and you need to pack plenty of wet- and cold-weather gear, but come evening you can relax over dinner on the estate or venture out to one of the pubs in the nearby villages of Alfriston and Lullington.

If you’d prefer to visit without having to do quite so much legwork, Rathfinny offers a range of exclusive estate tours and special events, including a Leiths Cookery School pop-up on 6 and 7 October, a harvest celebration held in association with Caudalie on 18 October and a Billingsgate Market tasting and dining experience on 10 and 11 November. 

Details of tours and events are listed here. Accomodation for grape pickers costs £23 a night and a minimum four-night stay is required. The hourly payment is £8 (minimum seven-hour working day) and is available weekdays throughout October and November. To find out more, contact the estate via the website

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