The two wine trade organisations for the UK have voted to merge in an effort to better represent the interests of the country's burgeoning wine industry.

The United Kingdom Vineyards Association and English Wine Producers said today that they would merge to become UK Wine Producers. The merger will be completed in the "next few weeks" the pair said.

The trade body will promote, represent and support the interests of all sizes of vineyards and producers in the UK. The group will also deal with government issues, as well as regulation and quality.

As part of the agreement, a new board will be formed. 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," said 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."

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