#theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday – an initiative which was built on the back of an innocuous tweet by Black Chalk winemaker, Jacob Leadley – has been hailed as an unmitigated success by English and Welsh wineries. The #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday was mentioned 4.9k times across key social media channels – Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – by 3.7k users, reaching 13 million mainly U.K. based consumers by the end of the Easter weekend. At its Friday evening peak, the hashtag was trending at number four in the U.K.
Billed as an online English & Welsh wine tasting extravaganza to encourage consumers to support wineries hit by the impact of COVID-19 on cellar door and on-trade sales, #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday inadvertently snowballed from a tweet sent out by Leadley, on 27th March: “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.” The resulting campaign was just two weeks in the making.
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 10th April itself. A number of wine media supported the event, including John Mobbs of Great British Wine, Saturday Kitchen’s Olly Smith, Helen McGinn of The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club, Jamie Goode of Wine Anorak, The Wine Show’s Joe Fattorini and The Three Drinkers.
Commenting on the initiative, Leadley said: “I 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!”
Jacob added that Black Chalk saw a significant increase in sales in the two week lead up to the event, which helped ensure that he didn’t need to furlough any staff, and has helped provide a platform to build the business for after COVID-19. As well as sales increases, other wineries that participated also reported a much higher level of engagement through their social media channels. WineGB experienced a healthy increase in followers and engagement on their social media channels. All the videos produced in the run up to and during the hour-long online event itself were posted online by WineGB and are available to view on the YouTube Channel
Ruth Simpson, from Simpsons’ Wine Estate commented: “We were delighted to be able to join in with #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday celebrations. This fantastic initiative has seemed to have had a positive impact on promoting English sand Welsh wines, as well as providing a sense of community and togetherness. Simpsons’ Wine Estate saw a direct uplift in sales in the lead up to the event and over the weekend too. It was wonderful to partner with fellow local producer, Chapel Down, plus our friends and neighbours at The PIG Hotel group to champion “supporting local” at this time.”
Julia Trustram Eve, Marketing Manager, WineGB, commented: “Wow! #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 WineGB will be continuing the UK wine focus with several Friday night ‘socials’ starting next Friday 24th April with #WelshWineWeek, with each week focusing on a different wine region and a chance to win a case of wine – link here for further information.
image credit: John Mobbs, Great British Wine for #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday logo