#BigEnglishWineEaster campaign details announced

An Easter weekend initiative to support the English wine industry will return this year on a bigger scale.

Last year’s inaugural event, which was triggered by the hashtag #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday, is being replaced this year by #BigEnglishWineEaster.

Last year’s hashtag, started inadvertently by Jacob Leadley, chief executive and winemaker of Black Chalk, saw producers take part in a flurry of social media activity encouraging consumers to purchase wines from their local vineyards.

This year’s event, which is being organised by Leadley and WineGB, aims to broaden its reach across the wine trade and support those most in need.

The focus of this year’s incarnation will be a social media takeover, with winemakers, the trade at large and wine lovers everywhere, encouraged to open a bottle of English wine and share a photo or video, with the hashtags #bigenglishwineeaster and #BEWE, between 7pm and 8pm on Saturday, April 3. 

The campaign will preview from Monday March 22 with a series of online events and social media posts hosted by an army of English wine supporters.  This year, producers will be invited to contribute a percentage of their sales over the weekend to two charities: The Drinks Trust and Hospitality Action.  A raffle with contributions from English producers will raise further funds.

Leadley is keen to get the wider UK wine industry involved this year; retailers and those restaurants able to operate will be invited to take part. 

Roger Jones of Little Bedwyn is already on board and will create a bespoke English produce takeaway menu paired with English wines for the Easter weekend.  Jones will also produce a similar menu with recipes to match suggested styles of English wines which consumers can follow.  

Jones said: “I am delighted to be part of the #BigEnglishWineEaster - a wonderful way to support the GB wine industry. We have over the years seen a huge increase in interest and sales of English wines whilst we were running our Michelin Star restaurant and continue to see the same with our takeaway service. It is not only English Sparkling that is making waves but still wines are now coming through as well.”

John Mobbs of Great British Wine, who has created the visuals for #BigEnglishWineEaster, will host an English wine tasting for around 40 consumers over the weekend, with profits donated to the charities.

The 2020 campaign came about when Leadley sent out a tweet one Friday evening in the early days of Lockdown: “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.”  This evolved into the hashtag #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday, which went viral amongst the UK wine industry and beyond.  The day itself saw the hashtag trending on twitter, and participating wineries reporting significant sales spikes for the weekend.

Leadley said: “2020 was all about supporting English wineries who, as a result of the Lockdown, were deprived of sales and tourism revenue. As 2020 progressed, many producers saw significant sales growth as British consumer embraced their domestic wine industry. We feel there are other sectors of the UK drinks industry who now need our support, specifically the on-trade, which has been hardest hit by the Pandemic and the resulting Lockdowns.  We hope to raise vital funds to help ensure the future of this essential sector of our industry.”

Julia Trustram Eve, marketing manager of WineGB, said: “This is a fantastic initiative that brings together our wine community to not only celebrate our wonderful wines but also support those affected across both our own and associated industries, particularly those in the on-trade over the last year. We hope as many vineyards as possible will join this celebration on social media and encourage their customers, supporters and followers to do the same.”

Anyone wishing to get involved should contact jacob@blackchalkwine.co.uk.  Details of wineries participating in #BigEnglishWineEaster will be hosted on the WineGB and Great British Wine websites: www.winegb.co.uk and https://www.greatbritishwine.com/bewe/

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