We talk to the man behind this weekend’s #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday

Robyn Black

Robyn Black

09 April 2020

The English wine industry has come together to urge drinkers to raise a glass of English wine this Bank Holiday Friday (10 April 2020), in a bid to help it weather the coronavirus storm. Imbibe meets Jacob Leadley of Black Chalk, who came up with the idea.

On Friday 27 March, Black Chalk winemaker, Jacob Leadley sent out the following Tweet shortly after 8pm: ‘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.’

From this simple idea, born at his kitchen table after one of the industry’s most difficult weeks, has grown the #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday. The hope is that at 7pm on Friday 10 April 2020 (Good Friday) bottles of English wine will be cracked open across the country in solidarity with a beleaguered industry.

‘I don’t tweet very often so didn’t even tag anyone in the initial post,’ Leadley told Imbibe. ‘But it really seemed to resonate and people began to comment and get in touch.’

The idea has gained support from all corners. Fellow winegrowers have been promoting it, promotional body WineGB has given its backing (even setting up a Shop Local campaign page for consumers to find vineyards who will deliver direct to their home and which flags up special offers), and wine writers have been promoting on the likes of BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen - not to mention the social media traction.

More importantly it has resulted in a genuine surge in sales for English wineries. Leadley says several producers have called him to say they’ve had lots of orders off the back of it and he reports that sales for Black Chalk itself reports have been ‘very, very good’ as a direct result. For Leadley, this was never about sales of his own wine, however.

‘It’s been so great to see the industry come together and really achieve something and I’d love that to be its legacy. It would be great if we could all come together for a big event every Easter, whether it’s this or something else. It’s been a great feeling, everyone pulling together and perhaps that has been a bit lacking in our industry in the past.’

Join the #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday on Friday 10 April at 7pm.

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