VINEYARDS in Sussex are urging their customers to help them through the coronavirus crisis by buying English wine.

The drive comes ahead of The Big English Wine Good Friday next week, an event set up to help wine producers through a period of great uncertainty.

Vineyards have been hit hard by the Government’s restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19.

With swathes of the work force in isolation, there is now a national shortage of fruit pickers. As the growing season is about to enter full swing, vineyards have a lot to lose.

The Big English Wine Good Friday seeks to raise awareness of local vineyards during these hard times.

Winemaker Jacob Leadley, who organised the national event, said: “If every person in the UK who loves English or Welsh wine bought a bottle direct from their favourite producer, I think we might secure an entire industry and their workforce in one very enjoyable evening.”

The challenges wine producers face are considerable. In Sussex, they have had to prune their businesses back, closing their doors to visitors as well as cancelling tours and tastings.

But they have also been thinking up new ways to survive in a post-lockdown economy.

Ridgeview wine estate in Ditchling Common has introduced a free next-day delivery service. The vineyard said it was “confident that our customers may need a little sparkle in the lives from time to time to see them through”.

Meanwhile Court Garden vineyard in Ditchling is offering customers a ten per cent discount. Though it has had to close its doors for tours, the wine producer intends to keep the sparkling flowing with the help of independent wine merchants Quaff, Country Wines, Ten Green Bottles and the Wine Barrel.

Bolney Wine Estate, too, is adapting its business. It has had to close its café and postpone tours and events.

But it has also set up an order to collect service to distribute groceries, luxuries, and bespoke meals.

Its shop is selling fresh produce boxes containing essentials such as bread and milk, along with seasonal vegetables in a second box, and creamy cheese and homemade chutney in a third box.

Bolney is also offering a no-contact meal collection service, available seven days a week, to provide main courses and desserts.

The vineyard is offering free delivery on all online orders over £15. And it is offering a 25 per cent discount on its wine and dine-in service for NHS staff.

The vineyard said: “As a private, family owned business we really appreciate your support and understanding during this difficult time.

“We know our customers may be spending a little more time than usual at home over the next few weeks, so we wanted to make sure we have a great selection available for you to enjoy.”

l At The Argus, we are championing the work of traders during the coronavirus pandemic as part of our #BackingSussexBusiness campaign. We are always interested to hear how the community is coming together in this crisis.

If you know of a local business battling to do all it can in these tough times and/or offering support to the local community, please get in touch at and