The two organisations within the UK wine industry, United Kingdom Vineyards Association and English Wine Producers, voted to merge to become one single industry body on 4th July. The legal name of the new body will be UK Wine Producers Ltd (UKWP).
The vote was taken at each of the industry bodies’ EGMs which took place earlier; the merger will be completed in the next few weeks. In the interim, UKVA and EWP will continue to function as separate bodies but work closely together within the new structure. As part of the merger agreement, a new board will be created to drive the industry forward.
The new industry organisation will bring together the strengths and skills of both UKVA and EWP into one united national trade body, with the sole purpose of promoting, representing and supporting the interests of all sizes of vineyards and producers in the United Kingdom. This will include acting as a single voice to represent the industry at all levels in dealings with government and other national/international organisations; focus on the control and protection of the provenance, regulation and quality of English and Welsh wines; support delivery of education, training and research; build tourism and create a generic marketing and communications programme for domestic and overseas promotion.
The new board of UKWP will comprise wine producers of different sizes who each bring individual skills and expertise to the operation. The chairman of the new organisation will be Simon Robinson of Hattingley Valley Wines, currently chairman of EWP. UKVA’s chairman, Peter Gladwin of Nutbourne Vineyards, will assume the role of deputy chairman. The current operational executive of both bodies will remain, working together under the new organisation, namely Barry Lewis (chief executive), Jo Cowderoy (membership secretary) and Julia Trustram Eve (marketing director).
“This merger comes at a key point in the growth of our industry,” comments Simon Robinson. “The vote that our members have taken today demonstrates a proactive and shared optimism in the future of English and Welsh wines and the many opportunities that lie ahead for us all. There is lots of work to be done – not least to reinforce our position with government and to build on the many services that we can deliver to all members.
“We also have the opportunity to build a strong generic brand for our wines and develop new opportunities such as tourism and export, research and training. I know that the new board is looking forward to playing a part in taking this forward for all our members.”
Peter Gladwin added: “As our industry grows, so our members need the right representation and support to drive it forward. I’m delighted that UKVA and EWP are now to merge – it is a completely natural step and prepares us for the exciting future that lies ahead.”
Source: UK Wine Producers.
Image of Simon Robinson and Peter Gladwin