UK wine industry votes for single representative body

The United Kingdom Vineyards Association (UKVA) and English Wine Producers (EWP) have voted to merge to form one single-industry representative body.

The vote took place at each of the trade bodies’ EGMs earlier today (04/07/17). The merger will be fully complete in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, both the UKVA and EWP will continue to operate separately but will ‘work closely together within the new structure.’

The merger agreement will see the formation of a new board to promote the best interests of the UK wine industry. The new organisation will promote, represent and support all UK wine producers and vineyards, irrespective of their size.

They will represent the UK wine industry in dealings with the government and other national and international organisations.

In particular, the board will concentrate on the controlling and protecting the provenance, regulation and quality of English and Welsh wine. It will also provide assistance with educational, training and research projects, help to promote UK oenotourism, and provide an official marketing and communications programme for both the domestic and overseas market.

Simon Robinson and Peter Gladwin shake on it

Simon Robinson, owner of Hattingley Valley Wines and current chairman of EWP, has been appointed as chairman of the new trade body. The UKVA’s chairman, Peter Gladwin, owner of Nutbourne Vineyards, is to become the deputy chairman.

Barry Lewis (current CEO of the UKVA) will be the board’s chief executive, Jo Cowderoy (current general secretary of the UKVA) will be membership secretary and Julia Trustram Eve (current marketing director at EWP) will be the marketing director.

Other board members include Mark Driver of Rathfinny Wine Estate, Guy Howard of Giffords Hall Vineyard, Tim Ingram-Hill of Southcott Vineyard, Tamara Roberts of Ridgeview Wine Estate, Frazer Thompson of Chapel Down Wines and Bruce Tindale of High Clandon Vineyard.

Commenting on the vote, Simon Robinson said: “This merger comes at a key point in the growth of our industry. The vote that our members have taken today demonstrates a proactive and shared optimism in the future of English and Welsh wines and the many opportunities that lie ahead for us all.”

“There is lots of work to be done – not least to reinforce our position with government and to build on the many services that we can deliver to all members.”

“We also have the opportunity to build a strong generic brand for our wines and develop new opportunities such as tourism and export, research and training. I know that the new board is looking forward to playing a part in taking this forward for all our members”.

Peter Gladwin added: “As our industry grows, so our members need the right representation and support to drive it forward. I’m delighted that UKVA and EWP are now to merge – it is a completely natural step and prepares us for the exciting future that lies ahead”.

Reacting to the news on social media, Sam Lindo of Camel Valley said: “UKVA and EWP have merged. A great achievement and the whole English wine industry owes a lot for the hard work that has gone into this…but is meaningless for anyone outside as it will be business as usual. Nothing by will change but things will be a lot easier”.

Wine writer Tom Stevenson also took to Twitter, adding: “Merging UKVA and EWP makes sense. Never did understand why there were two organisations, just which was easier to work with”.

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