It's no surprise that as a nation we rejoiced when off licences were announced by government as essential shops that could remain open! We do love a good tipple after all. But with the hospitality industry diminishing overnight, what has happened to manufacturers and suppliers of fine wines and liquors, ordinarily used to providing to the trade? I caught up with Marie Davis to find out how they are keeping their business, Stopham Vineyard, alive and kicking during lockdown.
Please tell us about your business and what you offer?
We are a Sussex based Vineyard producing award winning English still and sparkling wine with sustainability and passion at the heart of our business. Our goal is to produce the best wine England can offer.
How long have you been based in Brighton?
Although the 15 acre vineyard is located in Pulborough in West Sussex, both myself and the winemaker Simon Woodhead are local Brighton residents. The vineyard was planted in 2007 and I have lived here since then too..
What challenges has your business faced since we went into lockdown?
The hospitality sector being shut down was a huge concern for us as the Stopham Wines are sold directly to the trade and are on the wine lists in many hotels, bars and restaurants nationwide. The closure of this sector is a very big challenge right now.
Would you say that the Support Local Facebook group and Brighton Quarantine website have been a help to your business?
The support local drive that we are seeing in and around Brighton and the entire country has been a huge help to us as people seek to support smaller, more local businesses. People have been very open to trying new products and helping the community weather the Covid-19 storm. Many friends and neighbours have shared the Brighton Quarantine lists and it has been extremely helpful to have a Facebook forum where people can share information and pass on personal recommendations.
What advice would you give to anyone who is struggling right now?
This period of uncertainty will come to an end. Business and everyday life will pick up again. Personally, I have enjoyed a change in routine, enjoying a new, more simple way of living. Getting out for my daily exercise has become a treat now !
What happy song makes you dance in your kitchen?!
It’s got to be Tame Impala ‘Borderline’
Anything further you'd like to tell us?
We are so fortunate to live in a city like Brighton which is so progressive and has a real sense of community, vibrancy, creativity, and adventure. All these things combined along with our fabulous NHS services make me proud to call it my home town.
To find out more about Stopham Vineyards, visit their website here
If you would like your business to feature in our Support Local series, email firstname.lastname@example.org