SWVA Members gathered for a welcome day out from winter pruning to meet friends and colleagues at delightful Aldwick Court Farm and Vineyard, at Redhill near Bristol, on 7th March, by kind invitation of Sandy Luck.
Ian Edwards, Chairman, outlined first the recent developments in the organisation of the UKVA, including the creation by retiring UKVA Chair Sam Lindo of the UKVA Management Committee, as an extra resource to drive developments. The major outcome had been the appointment of CEO Barry Lewis and the negotiations towards unity with the marketing organisation of the large producers, English Wine Producers. There is still detail to be sorted out but the merger looks set to go ahead, with Extraordinarly General Meetings of both organisations expected in late spring to consider the proposals.
Jane Awty, a small-vineyard member of the Management Committee and an SWVA member has been serving on the group that has been developing new proposals for the UK national wine competition, and presented details. The new competition will be known as the UK Wine Awards and will be a more consumer-facing event than the old English and Welsh Wine of the Year Competition. It has new sponsors and will have a higher profile, revised classes and a slightly earlier date, to allow results to be published for English Wine Week. Details will be publicised shortly.
Roger Eynon, a former SWVA member and steam rail enthusiast outlined a high profile English Wine Event planned for Midsummer’s Day at Avon Valley Railway’s HQ. Roger invited members to participate, free of charge, in showing and selling their wines. English Wine Producers will be taking a table to showcase award winners in the UK Wine Awards.
After the formal part of the meeting members enjoyed a delicious curry lunch and walked the Aldwick Court Vineyard with vineyard manager Elizabeth Laver, while the committee met to plan for the year’s events.