One of the most striking things about this Vineyard Olympics that I went to in the week was that it happened at all. The atmosphere between the vineyards was fantastic. I’m not going to be naive and say that everyone gets on like best buds all the time, that’d be pretty much impossible, but the fact that people gave up their days to show up and get together with great spirit shows a lot about what’s great with UK vineyards right now.
There’s a clear spirit of cooperation. Don’t get me wrong, everyone wants to make the best product they can and be seen as one of the best. That’s only natural. But it’s more that they understand that the PR of promoting English and Welsh wine in general is worth more to them than individual gain right now. Helping each other out with advice, tips, and tricks will bring the standard of UK wine flying up faster than it already is and the world is taking note!
Last week, an English wine had its first print on LivEx, the premium wine trading platform used by wine investors. This online platform is usually dominated by the Grand Cru Classé estates of Bordeaux or Grand Cru vineyards of Burgundy. Then low and behold, last week a case of Nyetimber sparkling printed. Ok it wasn’t much, £120 for the 6 bottles, and cynics would suggest it was much more of a PR stunt than a genuine investment. But it was still a mark of English wine joining the global wine trading world and every vineyard here can join that success.
We need to be a bit realistic about this. I still have many friends in London, especially in my old industry, who still don’t realize English wine is a “thing”. To that extent the marketing still has a long way to go although they’re fully aware of that. Hampshire vineyards have a collective PR system, and Sussex are teaming up as a collective to push for recognition from the EU, but a UKVA (the UK Vineyards Association) public tasting session or pop up bars in a few different cities in the UK? Meh, who knows…
Still, very cool to see them all being together like that.