Red nose count will be up as Wine Relief again aids charity

Nearly all major retailers are backing this year's Wine Relief, in which shops donate 10 per cent from sales of certain bottles to Comic Relief.

Wine Relief runs from Jan 31 until Red Nose Day on March 16, and cash goes to the annual campaign to fight poverty and social injustice in the UK and Africa.

The Co-op, Majestic, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's, Somerfield, Tesco, Waitrose and Threshers have all signed up to support this year's event.

Co-op's Wine Relief selection embraces ranges from France, Italy and the New World.

Sainsbury's choices, meanwhile, ha ve been sourced from South Africa in recognition of Comic Relief's emphasis on Africa.

Wines including Kumala Sauvignon/Semillon and Porcupine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon will be promoted on a themed plinth.

Lucy FitzHerbert, senior corporate fundraising officer at Comic Relief said: "Comic Relief is extremely grateful to all the retailers who have helped Wine Relief raise a fantastic sum of just over £2million to date."

The brainchild of Jancis Robinson MW and Nick Lander, the biennial Wine Relief was launched in 1999.

As part of the event, many of the retailers have widened their Fairtrade ranges ahead of Fairtrade fortnight, which runs from Feb 28 to March 11.

Thresher, for example, has sourced six new Fairtrade wines under its Origin label, which are joining the two Equality Fairtrade wines from Chile launched at the end of 2006.

The selection retails at £6.50-£7.00 (discounted under Thresher's three-for-two deal).

Buyer Helen McEvoy said: "The relaunch of Origin is taking place as we have highlighted Fairtrade and organic wines as a gap in our current range.

"As this will be a brand relaunch, this clearly shows how seriously we are taking the issue of Fairtrade and we hope that our customers will make a conscious decision to support these wines to improve the lives of the growers."

She added: "We have designed a range of promotional material to highlight these new lines to our customers.

"Fairtrade wines, under the slogan 'eight wines that make a difference', will be displayed in shop windows and inside all stores stocking these wines."

Thresher will use neck collars and customer newsletters to highlight the new wines.