Please join in the fun!
For our Big English Wine Adventure, we’ve gone and made 3 one-off English wines, with all profits going to charity.
Now the project is reaching its climax: the wines are going on sale on 25th November 2021. But we’re no experts in making or selling wine. Our necks are on the line and we need your help…
We have some BIG announcements in this episode, which features plenty of drama, intrigue and jeopardy. We reveal our brilliant charity partner as well as the name for our sparkling wines – both of which were voted for as part of a public competition we ran over 5 years.
What’s more, our labels have been designed by mysterious street artist Hendog so we talk illegal art and free walls. Finally, the tension ramps up when we taste our wines for the first time in 5 years: will they be up to scratch?!
We also spill the beans on how you can support the project – where and how you can buy the wines, and what your support will mean (not just to us, but a fantastic charity doing vital work). Thanks for listening, and for supporting – we really appreciate it!
Click here for more information on the Big English Wine Adventure.
NB: To see the Running Order/Chapter Headings, simply click on the ‘bullet list’ icon on the green embedded player above.
There’s nothing more decadent than a warm cheese straw and a glass of English fizz to whet your appetite before a hearty autumn supper. This is our favourite version thanks to its combination of rich melted cheese, earthy rosemary and salty anchovies. It’s properly posh.
Download Posh Cheese Straws recipe
Peter Richards MW (PR): What is the Marine Conservation Society?
Richard Roberts (RR): The Marine Conservation Society is a UK-based organisation. And our mission is to fight for the future of our oceans by driving political, cultural and social change through people-powered action with science on our side. So I guess loosely translated that means that, based on scientific data, we work to recover the health of our ocean, with our supporters, partners and volunteers.
PR: You talk about recovering the health of our ocean – in terms of simple basics, why do we need clean, better protected seas, you talk about an ocean emergency: what does that mean?
RR: Our ocean is a massive resource. It covers 70% of the earth’s surface, provides 50% of the oxygen that we breathe, it absorbs a third of carbon emissions we emit. And more than that, it’s a massive food supply for us as humans and it provides support for livelihoods. It also provides a big support for physical and emotional wellbeing. That’s really why it’s so important.
PR: You say only 1% of the ocean is properly sustainably managed, but you want to make that a third of the ocean, is that right?
RR: Absolutely. We’ve got some pretty big goals at Marine Conservation Society. So by 2030 we’re looking for 30% of UK waters to be effectively managed and protected, the wildlife and ecosystems within them protected. We also want to see a huge downward trend on pollution levels. We’re also calling for those fish stocks to be at sustainable levels.
PR: Why is this important, specifically referring to the UK, why do we need to protect the coastline, how important is it for us?
RR: We’re slowly seeing human impact, whether that be walking on a beach and seeing the litter. To seeing some erosion around the coast brought on because certain species of plants that used to be there have received too much pressure and are being degraded. An example of that is sea grass, which grows in sheltered water around the UK coast, which has diminished by 92% around UK shores, largely due the pressure of recreational use within harbour areas. And that has a big knock-on imipact for the small fish it can shelter and those ecosystems, and also to that natural erosion barrier for the coast. And more so, that plant in itself delivers a lot of oxygen and also sequestrates a lot of carbon, so it’s a massively important plant in our fight against climate change.
PR: So how are you helping to protect that, or restore it?
RR: We have a project that is restoring around the whole of the British Isles, we’re part of a wider project replanting sea grass, and we’re advocating this message and teaching the next generation, cos that’s hugely important, to talk in schools about sea grass, why it’s important and the benefits that it brings us. The work we do, a lot of it is driven by our supporters, volunteers and partners. And that’s why partnering with companies and getting the support from your listeners, Peter, and people that advocate for the sea and its benefits, is vitally important. Because our organisation is driven by data. We’re data scientists at heart. And that data collection is incredibly important to us. We need to be able to collect that data to then advocate for policy change. And bring around these changes, solutions. So big projects like implementing the regeneration of sea grass can go ahead. A big project is our Great British Beach Clean, which happens every year in the penultimate week of September. Part of a larger project called Beach Watch. Anyone listening can get involved – visit our website first and look for a beach clean near you. And if you want to you can sign up and create your own beach clean. And what you’re doing by doing that is becoming a citizen scientist. You’re signing up to clean a 100m section of a beach. And in that section, all the litter items can be identified. All sorts of things can be found on the beach, tiny and big, and all those items recorded present a huge wealth of information to us. And we put that information into national and international data sets. And that data can then be used to advocate for change. An example of that is the 5p levy on plastic bags and since, we all know the story. I always carry my own bags and rarely these days do I get asked if I want a bag. So over a short period of time we’ve seen a big dramatic change there, which has had a massive impact on our environment generally and our ocean. So this data and people’s involvement with our organisation to collect data is vastly important and that’s why I’m really glad to be sat here talking about it!
PR: One of my questions was going to be: how else can people help! So that’s great you’ve covered it – let’s all get on our hands and knees on the beach! But how will the money from this project, the Big English Wine Adventure, help you? If people are buying the wine, where’s their money going?
RR: The money from this particular project will be going into us as a whole. It will support all the wonderful work I’ve talked about previously, all the campaigns we’re running, from stopping microfibre threads from washing machines to Don’t Let Go campaign on air pollution, not letting go of balloons, to the work we’re doing around sea grass to teaching in schools, it goes to the body of work that we do. So it couldn’t be going to a more valuable place.
PR: Wine is very vulnerable to climate change. We wine lovers need to support this kind of thing, sustainability and the fight against climate change. Any final messages?
RR: I’d firmly encourage all your listeners to support the Big English Wine Adventure, and indulge in some amazing wines created by some brilliant English producers and winemakers. And with that, you’ll have a good heart in knowing where the funds will be going. Incredibly generous – 100% of profits going to the Marine Conservation Society and we can’t thank you enough for that. Here’s to a good Christmas and drinking some delicious wine!
PR: Richard Roberts of the Marine Conservation Society, thank you very much indeed.
RR: Thank you!