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Twitter musing leads to initiative to support English wine during Covid-19

A tweet by the CEO and winemaker at Black Chalk, Jacob Leadley, has inspired an industry wide movement encouraging customers to buy direct from producers to support the English wine industry during Covid-19.

Dubbed #theBIGEnglishwinegoodfriday, the virtual event will, as the name suggests, be held on Good Friday (10 April) at 7pm across social media platforms.

The campaign was inspired by a tweet by Leadley on 27 March reading: “If every person in the UK that loves English or Welsh wine bought a bottle direct from their favourite producer I think we might secure an entire industry and their workforce on one very enjoyable evening.”

Within 24 hours the event had been organised and a banner created, courtesy of John Mobbs of Great British Wine. 

The event has attracted the support of industry figures including Olly Smith and Joe Fattorini and has also inspired wineries to unveil special offers to mark the occasion.

Videos featuring winemakers, writers, retailers and sommeliers are also set to be published complete with tasting notes and commentary.

It is hoped that the campaign will inspire more members of the public to buy a bottle direct from a winery, or from a specialist retailer, to enjoy on Good Friday or beyond.

While English wine is increasingly seen on supermarket and other retailer’s shelves, many businesses have lost a lot of custom from the on-trade sector, a strong supporter of the industry, due to the coronavirus.

Commenting on the plans, Leadley said: “I really didn’t expect this to escalate as it has done. But the original tweet seemed to resonate with the industry as I think we are all searching for some positives right now. It has been so encouraging to see all the messages of support from fellow winemakers, such as Charlie Holland (Gusbourne), Brad Greatrix (Nyetimber) and Tony Milanowski (Rathfinny) and everyone else involved in English and Welsh wine.”

Julia Trustram Eve, marketing manager of WineGB, added: “This is a fantastic initiative that’s bringing together and growing a wide community of English wine lovers. It’s also encouraging consumers to shop local and great to see the support that it has already generated from our friends in the industry and trade. We wholeheartedly support this initiative and congratulations to Jacob. In fact we will be rolling out more online events such as this on the following Fridays – keeping #Englishwinenight and #theBIGEnglishwinegoodfriday front of mind!”

WineGB has launched a shop local campaign on its website, showing visitors where they can find vineyards who deliver bottles to their doors, and flagging up special offers. Click here to visit the site.

A large number of wineries including Bolney, Camel Valley, Chapel Down, Nyetimber, Ridgeview and Simpsons are offering free delivery, while others such as Albury, Astley, Black Chalk, Bluebell Vineyards, Danebury, Denbies, Furleigh, Giffords Hall, Hoffmann and Rathbone, Hush Heath, Laneberg, Little Wold, Lyme Bay, Rathfinny, Renegade, Roebuck and Ryedale have also released special Good Friday offers.

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