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English wine initiative reaches 13 million consumers

Published:  17 April, 2020

The #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday initiative has been hailed an "unmitigated success" by English and Welsh wineries, reaching 13 million consumers.  

Built on the back of an innocuous tweet by Black Chalk winemaker Jacob Leadley, the online initiative - aimed at driving interest and sales of English and Welsh wine and driven by the hashtag #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday - was at its Friday evening peak trending at number four in the UK.

It was mentioned 4,900 times across key social media channels – Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – by 3,700 users, reaching the 13 million mark by the end of the Easter weekend.   

Several English and Welsh wineries took part, offering consumer incentives in the run up to the Easter weekend and posting videos, shots and hosting live virtual tastings on the evening of 10 April itself.  

On the back of the initiative, Black Chalk has reported a 295% sales increase compared to the previous two weeks, sales Leadley said would “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”. 

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.  

Leadley said he 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!"

Julia Trustram Eve, marketing manager, Wine GB, said: "#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.”

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