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Make it English on Good Friday

Nyetimber English sparkling wine is made in West Sussex – you can buy in the Netherlands at De Gouden Ton stores

A little departure from cocktails for us today! English wine drinkers and producers alike are showing their support for the industry by buying and drinking their favourite English still and sparkling wines and sharing their photos on social media on Friday 10 April.

Like many sectors of the UK economy, English vineyards and wineries have been impacted by the Coronavirus with staff furloughed and – in some cases – a significant drop in orders and sales.

To raise awareness of the quality and range of English wines available, consumers can join an hour long drink-a-long on social media to share photos and ask winemakers from across the country questions about their drinks.

The initiative has been created by winemaker Jacob Leadley of Black Chalk vineyard in Hampshire, and is run in conjunction with WineGB the national marketing body for English and Welsh wine.

“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”, said Jacob.

Many Sussex vineyards and wineries will be joining including the multi award-winning Wiston Estate, located north of Worthing.

Dermot Sugrue, head winemaker at Wiston Estate in West Sussex (credit Julia Claxton)

“There are so many fantastic English wine producers in this country, Sussex especially”, said Alex Notman-Watt of Wiston. “However most of them are small and family-run so will be struggling in the current environment. #theBIGEnglishWineGoodFriday tasting is a really great initiative to help support our growing, local industry to keep producing award-winning wines.”

“To participate, our brilliant winemaker Dermot Sugrue is taking part in a virtual tasting on Instagram with blogger @WineTimeLondon, Dalwood Vineyard and Hush Heath Estates. People can join them at 7pm on Friday where they’ll be tasting our Wiston Estate Rosé 2014 and Dermot’s Sugrue ‘Trouble with Dreams’ 2014.”

Based on the success of Friday’s online event, further drink-a-longs will be held until the end of May.

Kristina Studzinski of Off The Line vineyard in East Sussex

“I am behind this initiative”, said Kristina Studzinski of Off The Line vineyard near Hailsham. “There will be more Friday tastings in the weeks to come which we will be involved with including a regional one for the South East. It's great to see others in the industry coming together and creating positive ways to celebrate English wines”.

You can buy a wide range of English wines from local vintners across Brighton & Hove including Butlers Wine Cellar, Cases, Ten Green Bottles and Quaff. Most of the major supermarkets also stock a range of English wines, most notably Marks & Spencer and Waitrose who are long-time supporters of the industry. With their cellar door offering currently closed, some vineyards – including Wiston Estate – are also offering free nationwide delivery during the coronavirus lockdown.

The Big English Wine Good Friday starts at 7pm (UK) / 8pm (NL) on Friday 10 April. Participate by following WineGB and the hashtag #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday on Instagram and Twitter.


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