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Rathfinny Wine Estate releases UK’s first 50cl sparkling wine

The first 50cl bottles of sparkling wine have gone on sale in the UK, following the launch of the Mini Cuvée 2020 by Sussex-based English wine producer Rathfinny Wine Estate.

Mark Driver, co-founder of Rathfinny, has been campaigning for the format to be allowed in UK law for the past decade, after coming up with the concept in 2014. ‘A half-bottle of sparkling wine, 37.5cl, just feels wrong,’ he said. ‘50cl is the perfect size for two to share, with a pour of four glasses. It also appeals in the current consumer climate, with many looking to drink slightly less but better-quality wine.’

Driver pointed out that 37.5cl bottles are generally filled by the transfer method from a larger bottle, whereas the Rathfinny 50cl is bottle-aged and fermented, so there is a quality incentive to buy in the new format.

Only 800 bottles of Rathfinny’s Mini Cuvée 2020 were produced, but a larger release of the 2021 vintage (5,000 bottles) will follow later this year; the winery is also considering the launch of a 50cl sparkling rosé.

‘The politicians we lobbied were receptive from the start, but successive changes in government meant that progress was slow, with several setbacks,’ said Driver. The 50cl format for sparkling wine was finally written into UK law in late 2023, when the government also allowed ‘pint sized’ measures of wine (568ml) to be sold. According to Driver, the 50cl format for sparkling wine is already permitted in some other countries, including the US, Japan and Norway.

Other English sparkling wine producers have so far been slow to follow suit, many waiting to see how popular the format proves with consumers.

The wine is available at The Oxford Wine Co, priced at £24.50.



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