Everything you need to know about #BigEnglishWineEaster 2021
- Credit: Cath Lowe
After last year’s viral Twitter event, #BigEnglishWineEaster has rebranded and is back in 2021 with a host of online events. The founder of the tweet that started it all, and Hampshire’s Black Chalk Wine owner, Jacob Leadley tells us about what’s in store…
Winding down with a glass of wine at the end of the day is a relaxing luxury many of us enjoy. But a couple of weeks into lockdown last year, Jacob did just that at the end of a tough week. He was facing myriad challenges that made him worry about the future of his wine sales and about the English wine industry in general.
Then a lightbulb flashed. He says: ‘It occurred to me that the amount of English wine that was being produced was a fraction of the total population in the UK. I just decided that, if I shouted out there and said if every person bought a bottle of English wine that they liked, and we all shared our bottles at the same time, then it would support the entire industry.’
This ‘throwaway Tweet’ struck a chord with many wine producers who were feeling the same way, as well as with wine writers and personalities across the Twittersphere. He continues: ‘Over the next 10 days, it spiralled into a big collective coming together at a time when none of us could really get together, and it led to this real feel good factor across the industry that lasted.’
Last year’s spontaneous event proved successful, and led to this year’s being expanded on a wider scale, with the help of Great British Wine. A range of online events are being hosted on social media, including Britain’s Got Wine Talent which speaks to up-and-comers in the wine scene, and wine tastings and pairings with different producers. There's also a huge raffle, with prizes including a four-course meal from Roger Jones’ The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, and a case of Black Chalk’s sold-out vintages and previews, plus a winemaker and vineyard manager-led private tour and tasting for two.
Money raised will go to The Drinks Trust and Hospitality Action. ‘Wine sales have not been as disastrous as other businesses over the last 12 months, as we've all enjoyed a drink at home, but hospitality restaurants has been affected hugely,’ Jacob says. ‘We know a lot of people who work in that industry, and who really struggled with what the world has dealt them in the last 12 months. This time around, we decided to support that industry as well, because it's a really important part of wine sales for wine producers.’
Although Jacob is taking a slight step back from the limelight this year, he is still involved behind the scenes and is especially looking forward to the #BigEnglishWineEaster main event of opening wine bottles on April 3 between 7pm and 8pm. ‘I'm excited to see everybody opening those bottles, and actually seeing people tasting the wines, because that's what it's all about. Creating something so enjoyable is one of the big things as a winemaker that makes it such a satisfying job.’
Jacob finishes by encouraging people to seek out wine producers in their area, getting in a bottle or three for the vibrant weekend. ‘This is a chance for people contact a local producer and engage with them. At the same time, they can buy a raffle ticket and help raise funds for those charities, so our fantastic hospitality industry is here when we come out of all of this.’
The #BigEnglishWineEaster event is currently running, with the main celebration event taking place on April 3. For more information visit greatbritishwine.com/bewe and to donate to the cause visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com
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#BigEnglishWineEaster events 2021
Until March 31: The British Bouchon will host Britain’s Got Wine Talent, which sees her talk to guests under 30 in the British wine scene.
March 25 to 26: To raise money for the charities, Elizabeth Rose will be cycling to vineyards and hosting live Instagram chats with them about post-COVID tourism opportunities.
March 29: The Big English Wine Mastermind, where six English wine producers will be pitted against each other in a battle of wine knowledge.
March 29 to April 3: In a series of discussions, Michelle Knight speaks to wine experts about their favourite English wines, before premiering her film English Wine & Why You Should Drink it Responsibly.
March 30: Grape Britannia co-founder Matt Hodgson will talk to three of Britain’s top sommeliers about a fine selection of tasting wines, which are available to purchase and sample.
March 31: A #BEWE special of #WednesdayWineWomen, where Sophia of Skin and Pulp will be joined by the maker of a new rose wine.
April 1: An Instagram live chat hosted by Brad Wine Time London, with guests including Jacob Leadley.
April 2: A live tasting of three 2018 vintages, which you can have samples of sent out to you specially.
April 3: Between 7pm and 8pm there will be a grand nationwide bottle opening of English wines, which people can share using #BigEnglishWineEaster or #BEWE on social media.
April 3: At 8pm, there will be a live draw of the big raffle, where numerous wine and food gifts are available as prizes