The main organisations in the UK wine industry are taking a leaf from the Spice Girls’ book and making two become one, in an exciting merger for the category.
The United Kingdom Vineyard Association (UKVA) and English Wine Producers (EWP) yesterday voted to become one single industry body, to be called UK Wine Producers (UKWP) – for which a new board will be created to help push the trade forward.
The decision was made at both bodies’ EGMs yesterday, with a view to bringing together the skills and strengths of the two organisations into one united national body, which will promote, represent and support the interests of vineyards of all sizes in England and Wales.
‘This merger comes at a key point in the growth of our industry,’ said Simon Robinson of Hattingley Valley Wines; current chairman of EWP who has been appointed as chair of the new UKWP board.
The new board will act as a single voice when representing the industry in dealing with the UK government, national and international organisations, focusing on the control and protection of the provenance, regulation and quality of English and Welsh wines.
It will also support the delivery of education, training and research; build tourism and create a generic marketing and communications programme for domestic and overseas promotion
‘The vote that our members have taken demonstrates a proactive and shared optimism in the future of English and Welsh wines and the many opportunities that lie ahead for us all. There is lots of work to be done – not least to reinforce our position with government and to build on the many services that we can deliver to all members,’ Robinson added.
For the next few weeks, UKVA and EWP will still function as separate bodies, but will begin to work more closely together under the new structure until the merger is complete.