The Decanter Retailer Awards champion the very best of wine retail in the UK, and in what has been a year of uncertainty and adaptation, it is evident that retailers across the UK have the innovation, drive, creativity and energy that are hallmarks of the awards.
As the 2020 entry deadline nears on Friday 3 July, Decanter Retailer Awards Chairman Peter Richards MW addresses the changes and challenges retailers have had to (and still do) face, the support of the awards, and what he looks forward to as judging nears this July…
By Peter Richards MW, June 2020
When I wrote my Decanter Retailer Awards Chairman’s Blog last year, I outlined the ‘testing times’ for UK wine retail.
How times change.
In this time of coronavirus, everyone – whatever their circumstances – has had to adapt, dig deep and find new ways to work and play.
Some have lost their lives. Others have lost their jobs. That puts everything into perspective.
So why should some wine retailer awards matter?
In one sense, they don’t. When you look at the bigger picture, such things can rightly seem trivial.
And yet it’s also true to say that little things matter right now. Raising a smile. Encouraging others. Finding solidarity in shared activities. Supporting local businesses and people who go the extra mile to make others happy.
All of these things are part and parcel of judging the Decanter Retailer Awards. We want to champion the nation’s best wine retailers and give them a platform to reach more people and spread their own particular brand of joy. That’s never been more necessary than now.
Have you noticed how wine has been an almost emblematic feature of lockdown?
People are drinking it, talking about it, sharing thoughts and jokes and smiles like seldom before… That’s a huge opportunity to build on. And it’s been the result of some very hard work and resilience by wine retailers all over the country. We’d like to recognise and reward those efforts in these exceptional times.
In the great British spirit of all mucking in together, all revenue from this year’s Decanter Retailer Awards will go to The Drinks Trust, a charitable organisation providing support, care and assistance to the drinks industry and which has also been helping those hit by the coronavirus fallout.
What’s more, the entry deadline has been extended in recognition of the time pressure that wine retailers have been under (the new deadline is now 3rd July 2020).
We judges would love to hear stories from wine retailers all over the country about how they’ve been overcoming adversity and bringing joy to wine drinkers around the land. We’re champing at the bit to celebrate the best of the best, the kind of people fighting valiantly to retain the UK’s status as one of the very best places in the world to buy and enjoy wine.
There will be an end to this coronavirus fallout, even if it does prove frustrating and more protracted than we’re all hoping. We’d love to help support our great wine retailers in all their gloriously eclectic diversity, and help them get through these testing times and out the other side.
I know my fellow judges – Laura Clay, Kate Hawkings, Andy Howard MW and Peter Ranscombe – will join me in raising a glass to the brilliant people who help keep that glass (at the very least half) full. And we look forward to supporting them via the Decanter Retailer Awards when we come to judge in July.