It all started with an innocent tweet. Jacob Leadley, winemaker at Hampshire’s Black Chalk winery, had an idea for how people might support the English and Welsh wine industry.
“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 idea was beautiful in its simplicity, and it caught on – or “snowballed”, as we like to say in these viral times. A Twitter hashtag was born, and #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday was suddenly everywhere. Everyone from The Wine Show’s Joe Fattorini to “Jolly” Olly Smith of Saturday Kitchen and the Daily Mail exhorted their hundreds of thousands of followers to get involved.
“It’s a really lovely initiative,” says Smith. “Buy a bottle of wine and support an entire workforce.” English wine producers lost no time in setting up virtual tastings with the battle cry: “Join us at 7pm on Friday!”.
There’s been a welcome spirit of communality in the air too: Charlie Holland, head winemaker at Gusbourne, announced he’d be opening a bottle “from one of my favourite producers” on Friday night, and reached not for a Gusbourne but the 2015 Blanc de Noirs from Harrow & Hope [whose Brut NV we recommend below).
Club Oenologique and the IWSC are staunch supporters of English wine: Tamara Roberts, CEO of Ridgeview, is IWSC President this year, and we will be interviewing her for autumn’s Issue 6 of Club Oenologique.
So to get into the spirit of #theBIGenglishwinegoodfriday, here’s a list of ten brilliant English sparkling wines, all IWSC winners.