The WineGB office is open.  Please send an email to [email protected]. or telephone +44 (0)1858 467 792.  The team are endeavouring to provide the normal level of service but please be patient and considerate if we are a little slow to respond.

All information is provided subject to this Legal Notice & Disclaimer.

Where possible please use email to contact us. We are here to help…

Keep up to date

As well as reading the information on this page you can also sign up to Government updates by email via the website: - there is a link near the bottom of the page ‘Stay up to date with GOV.UK’.


In these challenging times we will be doing our best to identify issues which we think will be relevant to you and provide guidance. However, please note that details for many things are sometimes pretty scanty so we may not be able to provide a complete answer.

Please let us know of any relevant experience you have e.g. if you have difficulty accessing some of the Government’s assistance schemes. If you do not want to raise questions in a public forum, please feel free to email me or any other member of the team. Please also note that we expect government guidance to change over time so it is important that you keep up to date with the current situation.

I also want to assure members that business at WineGB is continuing as normal as far as possible although obviously many of our events have had to be postponed or cancelled. Our 'Project Portfolio' is available and regularly updated on the website. Please click here for the WineGB Project Portfolio.

This information is in the public area of our web site so it will be available to non-members as well. Not our usual standpoint as you know but these are exceptional times and I think it is the right thing to do.

With best wishes to you all,
Simon Robinson, Chairman

Latest Updates

New Government restrictions announced due to rising covid-19 cases

On 22 September the Government announced new measures to address the rising cases of coronavirus. WineGB has considered the impact on our industry and, with the best of our knowledge we understand that harvest work in the vineyard and winery can still continue, as essential work, as long as the workplace is adhering to the current guidance announced on 9 September and covered in the WineGB bulletin of 11 September (click here).  This includes the rule of six and the provision for harvest volunteers.  The new key measures and restrictions announced on 22 September may impact our members activities and these are listed below:

  • Office workers asked to work from home unless they need to travel to work
  • Table service only in hospitality venues including pubs and restaurants from Thursday, closing time 10 pm latest
  • Mask wearing compulsory for indoor hospitality and retail staff, taxi passengers
  • COVID-secure guidelines to be legal obligations in retail, leisure and tourism
  • Wedding guest numbers reduced from a maximum of 30 to 15 from Monday
  • Plans to ease restrictions on sports events and conferences suspended
  • Fines for first offences concerning masks or gatherings to double to £200.

Full details can be found on the Government website along with the  ‘Staying alert and safe’ updated guidelines. Vineyards in Wales need to check the latest information on the  Welsh Government website.

Health & Safety


Members will be aware that the government announced earlier this week new measures to suppress the virus which will be introduced from 14 September. WineGB has considered the impact on our industry and, with the best of our knowledge, we interpret the current guidelines for the various activities as follows. However, as this will not become law until Sunday, our advice is subject to change when the legislation is published and we have had a chance to review it.

The new rules stipulate that you must not meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than 6. This will apply indoors and outdoors, including in private homes. There will be a limited number of exemptions. COVID-19 Secure venues, such as places of worship, restaurants and hospitality venues, can still host larger numbers in total but groups of up to 6 must not mix or form larger groups. This applies to Cellar Door activities which we consider come under “hospitality” rules- multiple individual groups of up to 6 people can be accommodated but they should not be people known to one another or this would constitute a larger social gathering.

Education and work settings are unaffected. We have been asked the question about how to treat volunteer pickers. As long as they are at the vineyard to do a job of work this can be classed as a work setting but full risk assessment and Covid-19 mitigation should be in place including social distancing and working in separate bubbles. Any refreshment must be ancillary to the job of work, members should ensure that there is no social gathering after or during the picking.

Restaurants and Tasting Rooms
From 14 September, let customers know that by law they can only visit in groups of up to 6 people (unless they are visiting as a household or support bubble which is larger than 6)
Venues following COVID-19 secure guidelines can host multiple groups of 6 people, but no one should visit or socialise in a group of greater than 6.

Visitor Economy
From 14 September, let customers know that by law they can only visit in groups of up to 6 people (unless they are visiting as a household or support bubble which is larger than 6)
Guided tours of up to 30 people may take place indoors or outdoors provided businesses undertake risk assessments in line with this guidance document and put any necessary mitigations in place.
Meetings of up to 30 people indoors are allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance.
Vineyard and winery workers: As we understand it, this work can continue with the current Covid-19 guidelines of working safely in place.

For the latest guidelines on working safely, updated 9th September click here.

Does it apply to me?

This useful document, kindly shared by the NFU, lays out the restrictions that relate to farming and similar businesses, including premises selling food and drink, as well as farm workers. For further information click here.

Accommodation Providers

Guidance for those providing hotel and other accommodation in England. Further information here.

Apprenticeship programme

Guidance (updated 2 June) for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations on which apprentices should be prioritised for face-to-face training from 15 June, and details of the end-point assessment. Further information here.

Cellar doors opening

A licenced cellar door outlet is permitted to continue. Due care and measures to protect your staff and customers must remain in place with the various procedures now in place. Read more here.

Retail sales from wineries are an integral part of many producers’ business models and the Government is planning further guidance to enable what it sees as non-essential retail to start re-opening from 1st June in phases, but subject to it being safe enough and retailers following new yet to be published COVID-19 Secure guidance. So WineGB will consider suggesting re-opening of cellar doors for retail sales once the Government publishes such guidance timeframes.

Clarification of WineGB policy 25-03-2020: Chairman, Simon Robinson would like to clarify WineGB’s policy on cellar door opening: As we said in the bulletin 25-03-2020, a) technically producers can open so long as they observe the various rules applicable to retail venues regarding social distancing etc. BUT b) we strongly recommend producers do not do so. We note that some other large wine retailers have adopted a similar line and we think that is the right call. We need to protect the long term reputation of the industry which is more important than a few bottle sales, even in current circumstances.

Closing Certain Businesses

Government guidance (updated 15 June) to reflect current regulations. Further information here.

Exporting: Guidance for UK businesses trading internationally

Guidance includes a new section on PPE export control process (Update 21 April). Click here.

First Aid

Vine Care Ltd has kindly shared its guidance with WineGB members on the continued provision of first aid in situation where the victim my have Covid-19. Read more here

Food Businesses: Guidance

Advice for food businesses (updated 26 June) including new section on prevention of infection and revised section on management of outbreaks including contact details for health protection teams. Further information here.

Information for Farmers & Landowners

The latest information for farmers, landowners and rural businesses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak (updated 8 June) here.

Mental health and wellbeing

Recognising the challenges which the coronavirus outbreak and extended periods of self-isolation can pose, Public Health England, has published an online guide to help people manage their mental health and wellbeing. Further information here.

Drinks Trust Wellness Service
The Drinks Trust have launched a series of Wellness Services which will cover key areas of well-being.

The new services include:

For further information visit the Drinks Trust website.

Government advice on the use of face masks

This Government update includes a section on the use of face masks in the community. Click here for further information.

Further information click here – and in particular the paragraph: “Workers with specialist technical skills for essential or emergency works or services to ensure the continued production, supply, movement, manufacture, storage or preservation of goods.”

Public Rights of Way

DEFRA has issued new guidance on public rights on way after the NFU and other rural organisations raised concerns about the number of people taking to the countryside amidst the coronavirus outbreak and the wording for the Public Right of Way signs from DEFRA can be found here

The NFU has issued new sign which are available to NFU members on NFU Online - click here.

Risk Assessment for vineyard workers

Vine Works Ltd and Vine Care Ltd have kindly agreed to share their joint risk assessment to cover the Covid-19 outbreak period. Read more here

Safety of the workforce

WineGB has updated the best practice guide with its interpretation of the recent Government guidance as applied to vineyards and wineries: click here.

Government guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic: for further information click here (updated 31 July 2020).
The government has updated (1 June) the set of FAQs: What you can and can't do which includes returning to work and workers’ rights and refers to the Government’s COVID-19 Secure guidelines. Please also see the Government guidelines on Staying Alert and Safe Social Distancing (updated 31 May).

The social distancing guidelines (updated 1 May) further clarify the requirements of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020, and add information on clinically vulnerable people. Click here.

Security during the Covid-19 Crisis

Updated guidance (10 June) from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure for businesses and insolvency office holders on managing security risks during the pandemic. Further information here.

Testing for Covid-19

Guidance (updated 2 June) on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test and how to get tested. Further information here.

NHS Test and Trace: what to do if you are contacted
The government has issued guidance for people who have been notified by NHS Test and Trace that they are a contact of a person who has had a positive test result for COVID-19. Further information here.

The Government Coronavirus National Testing Programme includes categories of workers whose jobs are essential to the UK’s coronavirus response, including those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery. As a result, provided there is sufficient testing capacity, most farmers, farm workers or members of their respective households showing symptoms, should be eligible to be tested as essential workers.
For further information please see the links below:
NFU coronavirus testing update
Coronavirus national testing programme FAQs (employers)
Coronavirus national testing programme FAQs (employees)
Employer referral portal
How to book a coronavirus test

Transport and Shared Vehicles

Guidance on vehicles updated 24/06 to reflect the change to the 2m rule and add guidance on support bubbles. Further information here.

Safer transport guidance for operators: this document, for both private and public providers of transport, covers how to ensure safer workplaces and services for operators, workers and passengers. For further information click here.
The Department for Transport has also produced guidance in relation to multiple occupancy vehicles that are permitted for travel to work. Please see the letter here.

Travel Guidance
  • Self-isolating after returning to the UK, and employment rights. Information here.
  • List of countries and territories from where you can travel to England and may not have to self-isolate.
  • New rules on face coverings from today, Monday 15 June. Passengers that don’t follow the new rules on face coverings will be prevented from travelling. Further information here.
  • Air travel guidance for passengers updated (15 June) to reflect the new requirement for passengers to wear face coverings on aircraft in England. Click here.
  • Temporary relaxation of GB drivers’ hours rules ended 23:59 Sunday 14 June. Click here.
Vineyard Tours and Tastings

Shops have reopened (15 June) but the hospitality sector still remains closed, most likely until early July. As vineyards tours and wine tastings fall in the category of hospitality, WineGB must, as the trade association, wait for the government announcements before we can issue our members with guidelines. In the meantime we would value member input by responding to the following questions in this short survey:
WineGB will offering a webinar on Thursday 25 June to guide members on re-opening, assuming we have received Government guidance.

Working in vineyards

Our best view is that vineyards are considered as agriculture but we advise use of common sense:

  • If you are working alone and near your house this carries minimal risk
  • If there are more than one of you then maintain the prescribed distances from each other
  • Where employees are concerned, who need to travel to your place of work – travel remains permitted if it is work you cannot do from home. Again, common sense must dictate that you observe the social distancing requirements. Please consider whether you should continue to permit employees that have to travel from areas where there is more disease ie towns
  • We are discussing the position with vineyard labour providers and will be publishing a more comprehensive statement of the current position and a risk assessment/code of conduct very shortly. The statement will include guidance for members on how to operate their vineyards safely,
  • No volunteers (06/04 - WineGB is looking into this and will publish further guidance very soon).

Again, we urge common sense and self-discipline to be applied to common use of equipment (eg sharing tractors) in order to minimise any risk as is humanly possible. Other areas to consider should include:

  • Disposable gloves
  • No volunteers
  • Action in processes for frost watch



Business Support

Basic Payments Scheme (BPS)

Latest government update (2 June) for farmers, landowners and rural businesses includes an extension to the BPS deadline for land change requests to midnight on 9 June 2020.
Further information here.

Bounce Back Plans for Consumer and Retail

Exports Minister, Graham Stuart MP, has announced the outlines new measures to help boost exports and increase British retail firms’ readiness to sell overseas to help recovery from coronavirus. Further information here.

Companies House 3-month extension and additional support

Upload a document service updated (23 July) with the latest release to allow a selection of insolvency forms. Further information here.

Upload and send your forms to Companies House digitally.

Businesses will be given an additional 3 months to file accounts with Companies House to help companies avoid penalties as they deal with the impact of COVID-19. Read more here

Additional Support
Changes have been made (16 April) that will help businesses avoid being struck off the Companies House register as they deal with the current difficulties. For further details click here.
This includes notice that Companies House will temporarily pause the strike off process to prevent companies being dissolved. In addition, companies issued with a late filing penalty due to COVID-19 will have appeals treated sympathetically.

Confidential business advice service

We know many English and Welsh Wine producers are struggling with a loss of sales through the closure of the ‘on trade’ and experiencing other business pressures in these unprecedented, difficult times. Two highly experienced, independent business professionals have come forward with a generous offer to provide consultancy service to member businesses seeking advice.

Simon Thorpe MW

Simon Thorpe is a Master of Wine with 30+ years of experience at the commercial end of the wine industry including organisations as varied as Waitrose, Fortnum and Mason, negociants and Fells. Simon has worked across all channels and routes to market. He is happy to offer support and help with creating simple and actionable ideas for those wineries looking for strategies to cope with the short-term challenges provided by the Coronavirus outbreak.

Simon Bond

Simon Bond Is a recent entrant to our industry establishing Larkhill Vineyard in Gloucestershire. Simon has spent his entire career in Sales and Marketing focussing upon e-Commerce within the IT industry. He is offering to assist with marketing and promotion ideas together to create tactical plans to maximise opportunity in the current challenging trading environment.

Their help is offered on a completely Pro Bona (no cost) basis and would be confidential. We may ask them to write articles about problems and solutions facing members to be included in our daily bulletins but these would be anonymised and published for the benefit of others in the same boat. In the first instant we invite members to contact Jo Cowderoy by email: [email protected] , she will then put you in direct contact with the best person to help you.

Eat Out to Help Out

Register your establishment for the scheme here.
Find out how to claim the reimbursement for discounts given to diners here.

Environment Agency charges

The NFU is in discussions with the Environment Agency regarding regulatory charges being made – could any member who is being asked to pay EA charges (or any other agency fees and charges) please let us know?

Essential/Key worker certificates

It looks as if some people are having difficulties occasionally with vineyard workers being prevented by police from getting to work. We have therefore amended our form of essential worker certificate. There is now one for self-employed people who perforce will have to self-certify and a second for producers who have employees. The two forms can be seen here:

  1. Essential Worker Certificate (template letter) - self employed (download)
  2. Essential Worker Certificate (producer letterhead) - employee (download)

They may not work every time as it does depend on the policeman on the ground but hopefully they might help. I should add that we are still very much producing these by the application of common sense so bear with us if we change them again.

If you wished to be ultra-cautious you could issue a new certificate for each day but it should not really be necessary unless you have encountered difficulties locally. You will see the producer certificate suggests it remains valid for three months; if for some reason the employee leaves your employment, you should ask him/her to return the certificate to you.

And note three other points:

  • The person concerned must NOT be showing symptoms of the virus or live with someone who is or who is self-isolating
  • You should consider carefully – and preferably document somewhere – that you have thought about whether the person really is essential to the business. In many cases it will be pretty obvious but it would not be right to issue essential worker certificates to everyone willy-nilly.
  • And finally the certificates are only effective for travel to and from work: they must not be abused and used for other travel or the privilege will be removed I would expect.

DEFRA has now issued a certificate that can be used by key workers for journey which can be used along with the letter from the Environment Secretary. WineGB has also issued very similar templates (see above), and members can choose which they use.

DEFRA are also finding that there are recurring issues with key workers being stopped. This is quite widespread, affecting all areas of agriculture and livestock, so discussions between Defra and Police commissioners are taking place to clarify the position. DEFRA request that WineGB members report any incidences with vineyard staff being stopped or turned back via WineGB by email: [email protected]

NFU has shared its document on key workers. Read more here

French personal travel waiver certificate

This may be of interest to anyone who has dealings with France or get supplies from France. The French government have an essential worker certificate which will need to be prepared in French and carried at all times when in France. An electronic form in French is available here. For more information and the English translation of the waiver click here.

If you get supplies from France (or anywhere outside the UK) you may want to consider providing your UK essential journey certificate for the transporters, in case they are stopped by police. Both the WineGB and Defra essential journey certificates can be found above.

Funding initiatives

Deloitte have kindly agreed to share their summary of funding which is shared with WineGB members. There is also a facility to sign up for daily notifications (here).

This useful chart summarising the different types of funding currently available has been kindly made available by HSBC and Denton Tavara. See chart here

The Drinks Trust have launched a financial support scheme to drinks industry individuals who have lost their employment and income. Successful applicants will be awarded a £250 grant to assist them with essentials and to help them through the weeks ahead.

Additionally, The Drinks Trust helpline is being increased in capacity to handle calls from individuals suffering from anxiety and depression concerns.
Further information can be found here or by visiting The Drinks Trust website.

Government support for businesses in response to COVID-19

The Kickstart Scheme is a new Government initiative that provides £2 billion funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds. Further information here.
Check if you can apply for a grant here.

August 03: £20m to improve small business leadership: Two new leadership programmes to help small business leaders grow their companies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic have been launched today (3 August). Further information here.

July 07: A £10 million Kick-starting Tourism Package Grants of up to £5,000 will be available to help adapt small businesses that depend on tourism, following the coronavirus pandemic. Funding will be allocated to each Local Growth Hub based on how much of their employment base is linked to tourism and hospitality businesses. Further information here.

The government set out a package of measures (updated 29 May) to support businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. The principles of each support measure are set out on the government website but the detail of how these measures will be implemented is currently being agreed. See this link for the most up to date guidance:

Further information is available here.

Small Business Grants Fund

The guidance for the Small Business Grants Fund has been updated (1 May) with additional information on tax. Click here.

For details of eligibility and delivery of the Small Business Grants Fund click here.

Information about state aid:

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
The extensions to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) means that all viable small businesses affected by Coronavirus, and not just those viable businesses unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible if the lender believes they will need finance to see them through these unprecedented times. This means many more farming businesses are now eligible to take part in the scheme. For further information click here.

“Bounce Back Loans” of up to £50k (which have to be repaid) are also available specifically to smaller businesses – to see government paper click here. For the Treasury letter relating to these loans click here.

Support for large businesses through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million. For further information please click here.

The business loan scheme for large business has been expanded. For further information click here

Government Trade Credit Insurance guarantee
This scheme (published 13 May) is for businesses with supply chains which rely on Trade Credit Insurance. For further information click here

Share your rate relief and grants funding experience
We are hearing that some people have successfully accessed the business rate support from their local authorities, so if your position has changed, or you haven’t yet responded, please let us know. We hope to be able to share (anonymously of course) information to help others. Email Jo Cowderoy: [email protected]

Useful links:

  • Find your council and contact your local MP or councillor as they may be able to help: Click here
  • Government guidance on the grant funding scheme: Click here
  • Government guidance on rate relief: Click here
Government Webinars

SME COVID-19 Webinar Series for UK businesses
A series of 20 free webinars, designed to support UK businesses is available from The Department for International Trade (DIT) in partnership with Newable, Enterprise Europe Network and J.P. Morgan. Join the presenters for guidance on topics including accessing Government loans, grants and schemes to addressing HR, supply chain or employee challenges.
Please click here for a full list of upcoming webinars

Free Government YouTube videos and webinars to support businesses affected by coronavirus are available here. Including an updated (29 May) video on the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme - how to make a claim.

HMRC Update

HMRC support for customers and the economy over the coming months: Further information here.

Destroying spoilt beer, cider, wine or made-wine during coronavirus
Temporary changes (updated 26 June) to the destruction of spoilt beer, cider, wine or made-wine if you're a brewer, cider producer, wine maker or publican. Further information here.

Monthly returns for wine duty (excise notice 163a)
This details how to send a monthly return and calculate the duty owed on wine. The duty rates table has been updated (updated 22 April): Click here.

Due to measures put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus HMRC has temporarily changed the way they deal with Wine or Cider Duty and request that payments are made electronically.
For how to Pay Wine or Cider Duty click here
For guidance on Monthly Returns click here
For an electronic EX606 Form (Monthly return) click here

Although WineGB has not had an official response yet from HMRC, since publishing our note on HMRC issues, we have been told by a member that it is possible to call HMRC and obtain deferment on both duty and PAYE. They are likely to agree it, we are told, but one month at a time.

Job Retention Scheme
  • Information on the changes to the CJRS here.
  • Information on Redundancy Pay here.
  • To check which employees you can put on furlough, click here.
  • Self-employed: second stage payments available. Details here.
  • Find out if you can claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for individuals who are not employees.
  • Check which expenses are taxable if your employee works from home due to coronavirus, click here.
  • Claim for wages through the CJRS, click here.
  • Calculate how much you have to pay your furloughed staff here.
  • CJRS for claiming 80% of employee’s wages, plus any NI and pension contributions, click here.
  • Steps to take before calculating your claim using CJRS, click here.
  • Examples to help employers calculate their claims, here.
  • Webinar on extensions to the CJRS and flexible furloughing here.
  • If you’ve received a grant but were not eligible or you’ve been overpaid, find out what penalties you may have to pay if you do not tell HMRC here.

Key dates for the scheme:

10 June: This was the final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time, in order for the current 3-week furlough period to be completed by 30 June – see next point.
30 June: The furlough scheme closed to new entrants. From this point onwards, employers were only able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3-week period prior to 30 June.
1 July: Employers were able to bring employees back to work that had previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours employers need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.
31 July: The deadline for informing HMRC of claims in respect of the period to 30 June.
June and July: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICS) and pension contributions. Employers are not required to pay anything.
From 1 August: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
From 1 September: The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 14% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
From 1 October: The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 23% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
31 October: The furlough scheme will end.

Landowners & Rural Businesses

Information (updated 23 July) on submitting Countryside Stewardship (CS) and Environmental Stewardship (ES) annual claim forms. Click here.

Local Authority Grant Payments

The Discretionary Grant Fund supports small and micro businesses that are not eligible for other grant schemes.
The Government has announced an extension to the Scheme to allow a discretionary grant of up to £25,000 for businesses that were unable to claim under the original one. Check with your council for details of their scheme.
Update (8 June) includes: Eligibility points are confirmed - your business should have ongoing fixed property-related costs, and occupy property (or part of a property) with a rateable value or annual mortgage/rent payments below £51,000. Further information here.

Mobile Bottling Services

We have heard from one WineGB member that their French mobile bottlers were able enter the UK without issue on Monday (after the new quarantine rules were imposed) and provide their bottling service. However, if any members have any problems with bottling companies entering the UK please contact WineGB

Seasonal Labour

Seasonal workers coming to UK vineyards: Government guidance
The Government has provided advice for seasonal agricultural workers coming to England to pick fruit, and for their employers. We would like our members to be aware that all seasonal agricultural workers coming to the UK from a country which is not exempt from quarantine, must self-isolate for 14-days prior to starting work on a farm or vineyard - currently this will include workers travelling from Romania, Bulgaria and Spain. This list is subject to change so please check the Government website for countries that are exempt from the 14 day quarantine rules here.
Please also note that all employees/seasonal workers returning from a country requiring quarantine, must fill out the this entry form 48- hours before arrival to the UK

Vineyard Labour Providers
Our industry labour providers are now proposing to support their seasonal workers from countries that are not currently exempt from the 14-day self-quarantine rules, so that can be ready to work on UK vineyards in time for the start of harvest. They plan to offer accommodation and basic financial support for the 14-day period so that vineyards will then have immediate access to their workforce, however this will mean a slightly higher hourly rate for their customers.

Paul Woodrow-Hill, from Vine Care UK, a WineGB Patron commented. “Safety is paramount so I would advise vineyards to check that agency workers coming from Romania and Bulgaria have quarantined for 14-days prior to commencing work. In the field it is important to have a safe system of work to mitigate risk. We will be issuing our risk assessment shortly which we ask customers to adhere to for a safe and successful harvest."
Darcy Gander, from Vine Works Ltd adds. “We're glad to have proposed this initiative in conjunction with WineGB and our primary concern is the health and safety of our staff and customers in these challenging times and to ensure we deliver a safe and successful harvest for 2020. ”

Labour providers, and vineyard owners, must also ensure the safety of their workforce generally from other hazards. Further guidance is available on the Government website.

International travellers for seasonal agricultural work
Due to the importance of the food supply chain the rules on self-isolation for seasonal workers are different from other international travellers to the UK. Guidance for employers and employees can be found here.
Seasonal worker best practice guidance
This best practice guide, kindly shared by the NFU, is intended to assist employers of agricultural seasonal workers in applying the PHE guidance in practical ways. The guide is a collaboration with the National Farmers Union, The Association of Labour Providers, AHDB, G’s Fresh and Defra.
For further information click here
Or visit the ADHB website
Please note: WineGB are producing a version tailored to the wine production industry, which should be available towards the end of this week.
Defra ‘Pick for Britain’ website
The ‘Pick for Britain’ campaign to attract people to work on UK farms has been launched and the website to bring workers and employers together is now live. According to the NFU up to 80,000 seasonal workers are needed to help with the fruit and vegetable harvest across a wide range of roles from pickers and packers, to plant husbandry and tractor or forklift drivers. Employers can upload their job vacancies, and job hunters can enter their details on the website. GLAA licenced recruiters can also add their own website links to the Pick for Britain website.

Labour provision this season
WineGB is in regular contact with our industry’s main contract vineyard labour suppliers, as well as the NFU and regrading labour provision. Vine Care UK Ltd and Vine Works Ltd do not foresee any issues with providing labour this season and have given the following statements:

Vine Care UK Ltd
“I’m pleased to say, that despite the current situation, our usual work force is keen to return for the summer and beyond, so we fully expect to be able to continue supplying our clients with labour as normal.” Paul Woodrow-Hill. Website.

Vine Works Ltd
“We have a core of our workforce remaining in the UK and have staff planning to return when they are able to travel. We have no issues on staff getting to work as all staff have declaration letter in vehicles. We have had no problems of supply of vines as our stock arrived in the UK prior to look down and is in cold store.” Darcy Gander. Website.

Vine Works Ltd has updated its Vineyard Workers Risk Assessment to ensure all staff and customers are kept as safe as possible during the coronavirus outbreak. For further information click here.

Both companies reassure that all necessary precautions are being taken to ensure the welfare of staff and customers.

Defra has asked WineGB if any members are experiencing difficulties with essential journeys to get to work or have any other issues. Please let us know by contacting Jo Cowderoy by email: [email protected]

The NFU website provides useful information related to seasonal labour, including their mitigation measures, incentives and promotional campaigns to use UK workers in farm roles. The website also states that the government has confirmed that furloughed workers are eligible to collect wages with a second job. Click here for further information

The Association of Labour Providers (ALP) is running a ‘SWAP’ online portal for GLAA-licenced businesses to share existing farm workers. The GLAA will introduce a temporary licensing scheme to support the food production sector in accessing labour during the outbreak. Please click here for more information.
The government has confirmed that furloughed workers are eligible to collect wages with a second job and the NFU website reports on seasonal labour mentioning land army, feed the nation and pick for Britain initiatives. According to the NFU, the AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) plan to coordinate a general public web page for farm work. For more information click here.

Useful employment webinars
The webinars below may be of interest to WineGB members:
14 May 10am: Managing disciplinary and grievance matters with a remote workforce
21 May 10am: Employing foreign nationals now and post-lockdown
For further information and to register click here

Self-Employed Workers

Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (updated 12 June) – click here.
Check how different circumstances affect the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (updated 12 June) - click here.

Sick Pay

Employed and cannot work due to coronavirus and claiming Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)? Further information here.

If you’re an employer, you can find out if you can use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to claim back employees’ coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and the online service is now available. The Government updated its guidance (28 May) on claiming for sick pay and you can now claim for employees who are self-isolating because they’ve been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus. For further details, click here.


NFU living wage survey
The UK National Living Wage increased to £8.72 per hour from 1st April 2020 and the NFU is conducting some research to assess the impact of this increase on farmer and grower businesses. The information the NFU receives will inform its response to the Low Pay Commission in June 2020. If you employ any type of worker on farm, the NFU would appreciate it if you could give your views by completing this short questionnaire. The research will be undertaken in line with the Market Research Society Code of Conduct and all responses will be aggregated and analysed anonymously. The survey closes on Wednesday 29th April.

The Impact of the Coronavirus on UK Wine Production Businesses
WineGB members will soon be invited to take part in a survey to study of the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on UK wine production businesses. Its aim is to feed into the UK government’s planning to support businesses. The study is led by Professor Francis Greene and Dr Alessandro Rosiello at the University of Edinburgh Business School. More information to follow soon.

Volunteer Workers

A number of members have asked whether volunteers are permitted to travel to work on vineyards given that as volunteers they are not employees. WineGB Partners Paris Smith, have kindly confirmed the following:
It is clear that a person does not need to be an employee for a place to be the person’s “place of work” (as otherwise consultants would be completely unable to visit vineyard clients for example). The movement restrictions are contained in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020. Section 6(f) provides that it is an excuse from the general prohibition on movement for a person to “ travel for the purposes of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where it is not reasonably possible for that person to work, or to provide those services, from the place where they are living”. For more details of the regulations Click here.

It is clear therefore that volunteers are permitted to travel to work in vineyards. Helpfully it is also clear that the relevant regulation when providing for volunteers’ movement does not appear to require it to be to a place of work or for the services to be “work” – the provision of voluntary services seems to suffice so long as those services cannot be provided from home, which is clearly is the case with vineyards, but interestingly would also appear to be the case with wineries (for example when it comes to harvest operations). We would suggest that volunteers are provided with essential movement certificates similar to the certificates provided to employees or consultants. See elsewhere on this page.

Permitted gatherings
Note also that regulation 7 appears to permit gatherings of more than two people (otherwise prohibited) where it is necessary “for work purposes”. That may become relevant for some winery operations (such as bottling) where groups of more than two people are unavoidable although it is unclear whether the social distancing rules continue to apply. In any case, bottling does not presumably happen in a “public place” so there is a double exemption here. The best advice must be to ensure, so far as possible, that the social distancing rules are satisfied and that gatherings of more than two people only happen when absolutely necessary for work purposes.

Marketing Support

#Welshwinenight & #Englishwinenight

Following the success of last week’s online activity, we will be continuing with a series of Friday night ‘social’ events, each starting at 7pm for an hour on seven consecutive Fridays, starting next week, 24th April.

Each Friday will feature one of our regional associations, allowing us to focus on that region in the run up to the evening. This will include posts on social media, a dedicated page on the website and sharing a video presented by the regional chair. We will be offering a competition prize offered to a winning photo posted on social media.

We have slightly rescheduled the dates since last week which will now be as follows:

24 April: Wales
1 May: Wessex
8 May: Midlands and North
15 May: South East
22 May: East Anglia
29 May: Thames & Chilterns
5 June: West

To find out more please contact us. A ‘how to get involved’ guide is available here

English Wine Week / Welsh Wine Week
Saturday 20 – Sunday 28 June

As set out in our revised marketing plan we have changed the dates of English Wine Week (and Welsh Wine Week) for this year.

The decision was taken in the light of the current situation with COVID-19 when May dates are likely to be too soon given current restriction. Moving to June could allow for cellar doors to be open again and operational.

This year the campaign is likely to be driven digitally but subject to the COVID-19 situation, there could be the opportunity to roll out some marketing materials to support cellar doors ‘back in business’ and retailers’ in store activity.

We will use the Week to launch and highlight a number of initiatives and will keep you informed of further plans.

Exporters – Webinars available from Institute of Export

The Institute of Export & International Trade has launched a series of Masterclass Webinars to help exporting businesses. It covers a wide range of customs and international trade procedures, including customs declarations to supply chain management and finance. Each seminar lasts around 1.5 hours, and costs Cost: £175+VAT for IOE&T members, £200+VAT for non-members. You can claim government grant funding to cover the full cost of this webinar. All details are available on the Institute of Export website.

London Wine Fair Postponed

The London Wine Fair organisers have announced that they are postponing the Fair. You can read the full statement here We will inform you of any updates as and when we receive them. Those of you that have signed up to exhibit will be notified by the organisers about the cancellation processes and we are also in touch with them to clarify the situation.

News stories via WineGB website - please keep us informed

The website is also becoming a much more actively used platform for information for visitors from consumers to trade, press and industry. Please keep us informed of any news – this could include new products or any new initiatives you are taking either individually or collectively – we will be happy to share.

Email [email protected] with your news items or press releases.

Shop Local Campaign: website and social media

Do you have any special offers on your online sales? We have noticed that many of you are publicising special deals and offers to your customers, and we want to help promote that. We have launched a campaign on social media – ‘Shop Local’ – to highlight producers’ offers. All offers will also be listed on the WineGB website. Please let us know what you are doing, and we’ll make sure that you are added to the list. Further information is available here The home page now has a link to a “SHOP LOCAL” page, which allows consumers to search for Vineyards in their geographical area who are able to do home deliveries. Soon this will also include a list of wine merchants/retailers that sell English and Welsh wines, either in store or online. If you are not listed and would to be added, or if there are any amendments required to your listing, please contact [email protected]

Social media support

Given how much activity is now taking place on line, the importance and relevance of social media has never been higher. We wanted to draw attention to two documents on the online Marketing Toolkit, available exclusively to WineGB members in the Members Area.

These handy guides outline in detail the importance of Social media and a guide to help improve your social media output. Topics covered include current consumer trends, how to set up your profile and find your voice; use of hashtags to finding your audience, increase engagement and best practice and types of content use for all three main social channels (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook). A range of handy pointers, hints and tips to improve (or even begin) your social media activity are included.

Tips to sell wine during coronavirus epidemic

Thank you to those that have added, and continue to add, to the ‘shop local’ initiative we have launched via social media. Meanwhile we are looking at other good sources of inspiration from around the world. Please find a link to that contains some good hints and tips about selling in the current times.

Industry Support

WineGB Partners, Patrons and Suppliers Supporting Our Industry

A. E. Chapman

In order to keep producers supplied with bottles A. E. Chapman has taken the decision to remain open and to provide as normal a service as possible, with good availability on most bottles. The lead time on ordered lines is about 1 to 2 weeks. Please call A. E. Chapman on 020 7622 4414 any time between 8.00am and 3.00pm Monday to Friday or send an email to [email protected] or [email protected]. You can also visit their website for more information.

Bruni Erben

Looking in to ongoing supply of corks and closures from Italy. Current stock list and contact details can be found here.

DEFRA assistance for our industry

DEFRA has reached out to offer help to our industry members with problems or concerns relating to the coronavirus outbreak. In the first instance please get in touch either with your Regional Chair or email WineGB: [email protected] and we can collate the common issues and request help from DEFRA.

MHA Carpenter Box

MHA Carpenter Box are able to offer members financial advice.

Murphy & Son

Murphy and Son, a British company with over 130 years of supplying the drinks industry, have teamed up with sparkling wine/Champagne specialists Perdomini-IOC and are able to provide winery supplies via their website ordering system: click here.

This includes supply and delivery of all sanitation, filtration and winemaking requirements.

NFU Mutual

The NFU Mutual Risk Management Services team are now to provide a Health and Safety Covid service (for free to policy holders). Other information on the website inlcudes: ‘Guidance on preventing the spread of coronavirus in the workplace’ and ‘Guidance on PPE, First Aid and RIDDOR reporting’.
For more information click here.

N P Seymour

With shows and events being postponed and cancelled, WineGB Patron and specialist dealership NP Seymour is bringing the latest viticultural tractor and machinery news, grower interviews and insights direct to your inbox. Claire Seymour and the team would like to wish all those in the viticulture industry well at this difficult time. NP Seymour is continuing to support growers and winemakers and is striving to keep sales, parts and service as normal as possible, while prioritising the health and safety of its customers, staff and suppliers.
To read the newsletter and to subscribe click here.

Paris Smith

Paris Smith will support WineGB to ensure that WineGB members have access to legal and any other information that will help inform them over matters concerning their businesses.
Paris Smith is updating its website frequently as information from the Government and other sources becomes available. The specialist employment department can also work with employers to prepare a customised letter to issue to employees on furlough leave.

Please see the following blog posts for further information and details of how to contact the team.

Rankin Brothers & Sons remain open for business

Rankin Brothers & Sons has launched a campaign to support local Breweries, Distilleries and Wineries. This is a social media campaign that celebrates the benefits of buying local and buying direct. It is designed to drive interest in local businesses and to encourage consumers to go on a journey of discovery - to see what gems exist on their doorstep!
Click here for more details or contact [email protected].

WineGB Patron Rankin Brothers & Sons remains open for business and the company is working hard to ensure that orders can be supplied without significant delay. The company carries a range of standard closures in stock including corks for still and sparkling wines, foils and wire-hoods in plain colours and crown caps.  Click here for Rankin Customer Statement

Please contact the sales team on 01844 203100 or via [email protected]

Rankin suggests keeping an eye out for regular updates that will be posted via their website and social media channels: , Facebook: @rankinbrothersandsons, instagram: @rankincork

Strutt & Parker

Aware that many Wine GB members require guidance, and many are experiencing frustrations with the business rate exemption laid out by the government to support businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, James Thompson from the Strutt & Parker dedicated business rate team is available to assist WineGB members. Please email James Thompson (and cc Edward Mansell-Lewis).
Contact details:
[email protected]
[email protected]