Initiative to bolster English wine gathers support and evolves into Easter campaign

An idea shared by an English wine producer last Friday has inadvertently evolved into an initiative aimed at supporting the English wine industry, as well as encouraging people to shop local.

In a tweet last Friday Black Chalk winemaker, Jacob Leadley, said: “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.”

The message, which had hundreds of likes and was retweeted more than 100 times, evolved into the hashtag #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday, which has been circulating on Twitter ever since.

Several English wineries and the industry at large have now agreed that the event will take place on Good Friday from 7pm.

A number of winemakers, including Leadley and his assistant winemaker Zoe Driver, will produce short videos to be released across social media channels, along with tasting notes and commentary posted by wine writers, sommeliers, retailers and other industry figures.

The group hopes that momentum will build in the days leading up to Good Friday (April 10) to encourage consumers to order a bottle of English or Welsh wine either direct from the vineyard or from a retailer or agent, in time to enjoy on Good Friday evening.

Leadley said he is keen to note that this initiative is about supporting the whole industry and is not specifically a Black Chalk campaign.

He 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, said: “This is a fantastic initiative that is bringing together and growing a wide community of English wine lovers. It is also encouraging 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 set up a ShopLocal campaign page for consumers to find vineyards who will deliver direct to their home and which flags up special offers: www.winegb.co.uk/shop-local

Follow #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday for updates on tastings and activities taking place at 7pm on April 10.

A full list of producers and retailers that can deliver English wine direct is listed on greatbritishwine.com here:  https://tinyurl.com/tky54fk

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