The online initiative aimed at driving interest and sales of English and Welsh wine – driven by the hashtag #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday – reached 13 million consumers by the end of the Easter weekend with many producers reporting huge spikes in both sales and consumer engagement over the period. 

The campaign, which was built on the back of an innocuous tweet by Black Chalk winemaker Jacob Leadley, has been hailed as an unmitigated success by English and Welsh wineries. The hashtag was mentioned 4,900 times across key social media channels including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook by 3,700 users, reaching 13 million predominantly UK-based users by the end of the Easter weekend. 

At its Friday evening peak the hashtag was trending at number four in the UK. 

Several English and Welsh wineries took part, offering consumer incentives in the run up to the Easter weekend and posting videos, shots and hashtag live virtual tastings on the evening of April 10 itself. A number of wine media supported the event including john Mobbs of Great British Wine, Saturday Kitchen’s Olly Smith, Helen McGinn of The Knackered Mother’s Wine Guide, Jamie Goode of Wine Anorak and The Three Drinkers. 

Leadley said: “I was delighted that the idea born from a simple tweet gathered so much support across the industry in the lead up to the event. I have been contacted by producers directly who saw significant increases in sales in the two weeks run in and while these sales will not fix all the problems we face currently, it will mean we come out the other side a little stronger and that is all I can ask.  

“I didn’t expect the event itself to be as large as it was; it created a positive buzz around the industry at a time of difficulty and I would like to thank everyone who helped to make that happen and took part. I think we created the largest online tasting of English and Welsh wines ever!”

He added: “At Black Chalk, there was a significant increase in sales in the two-week lead up to the event.  These sales will go a long way to ensuring Black Chalk won’t need to furlough any staff during the current crisis and will provide a platform for us to build upon once we emerge from this.” 

Black Chalk saw its sales increase by 295% compared to the previous two weeks and they have now sold out of the 2016 Wild Rose. Other wineries which participated have also reported above-expected sales in the days leading up to #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday.  Nick Wenman of Surrey’s Albury Vineyard reported over 70 additional orders for home delivery as a result of the initiative, resulting in nearly £5,000 extra income.  

Ruth Simpson, from Simpsons’ Wine Estate said: “We were delighted to be able to join in with #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday celebrations. This fantastic initiative has seemed to have had a positive impact on promoting English and Welsh wines, as well as providing a sense of community and togetherness. 

“Simpsons’ Wine Estate saw a direct uplift in sales in the lead up to the event and over the weekend too.  It was wonderful to partner with fellow local producer, Chapel Down, plus our friends and neighbours at The Pig Hotel group to champion “supporting local” at this time.”

Charlie Holland at Gusbourne said: “As result of last week’s event we have had a much higher level of engagement through our social media channels and were delighted to have received a significant number of internet orders when we returned to work after the bank holiday weekend.”

Julia Trustram Eve, marketing manager, WineGB, said: “Wow!  #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday certainly captured a positive mood at the beginning of the long bank holiday weekend and it was heartening to see so many people celebrating English and Welsh wines and engaging in this collective wine tasting.

“People were tuning in on social media from around the world and for an hour the spotlight was on our industry and the support was phenomenal.  Congratulations to Jacob for his inspired initiative and to the other very active supporters of the movement.”

Mardi Roberts from Rudgeview said it recorded one of its largest ever online trading sales days on April 8, 2020. She said: “#thebigenglishwinegoodfriday promotion was fantastic for business and raising the general profile of English wine.

“At Ridgeview we had a big spike in online sales in the build up to Easter and #thebigenglishwinegoodfriday with one of our largest ever online trading sales days on the 8th of April. We also had fantastic engagement with all of our social media channels before and during the event which was excellent for brand awareness.”

The original tweet on March 27 by 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 resulting campaign was just two weeks in the making. 

Recognising the growing popularity of online tastings WineGB will be continuing the UK wine focus with several Friday night ‘socials’ starting next Friday April 24, each week focusing on a different wine region and a chance to win a case of wine (visit for further information).