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Barry Lewis to head UK Vineyards Association

English Wine Shop owner and Amber Valley wine maker, Barry Lewis, has been appointed CEO of the UK Vineyards Association (UKVA) taking up his new role at the end of February.

His responsibility will be to build the UKVA into an efficient central industry body, delivering core services to the growers and producers in the UK, such as quality, technical and legislative support. Lewis will work directly with the UKVA Council, co-ordinate the newly-formed management committee, liaise with regional associations and build membership.

UKVA chairman Sam Lindo, comments: "We're delighted to welcome Barry, who comes to us with a wealth of experience and will help us start a new chapter for the organisation. The UK wine industry has grown exponentially in recent decades and we need to continually respond to the ever growing needs of its members. This is another milestone for the UKVA as the industry trade body representing growers and wine producers.

“Key to the success of our industry and its future is producing quality grapes, working hand in hand to promote and advise the industry. That is where the UKVA can have a real impact as the go-to organisation representing growers and lobbying to ensure that there are effective schemes in place to promote growth, and that there aren't too many regulatory barriers in the way.”

Barry Lewis, a businessman and former professional archaeologist, is himself a grower and English wine merchant. He owns and runs Derbyshire vineyard Amber Valley Wines and online retail business The English Wine Shop with business partner Duncan Mercer. Barry also has experience in local politics as a County Council political group leader and works part time for an East Midlands MEP, all giving him a strong background and skill set to carry out this new role.

Commenting on his new role, Lewis says: "I'm delighted to be taking on this new challenge with the UKVA, and am looking forward to working with the chairman and the industry committees to formulate and deliver a new business plan.

“The skills I have and the experience I have gained over the years will, I believe, help me deliver for the English wine industry. I have watched and grown with it in a way and I'm extremely proud that I will be part of the story of its development, working with other growers and producers throughout the country to make the English wine industry the best that it can be.”

UKVA will continue to work closely with English Wine Producers (EWP), the marketing association that promotes and communicates about English wines nationally and internationally, both for its members and for the industry as a whole.

Julia Trustram Eve, marketing director of EWP, adds: “Congratulations to Barry on this new role. His input will undoubtedly help to shape the UKVA as it moves forward and we look forward to working with him. EWP members are UKVA members and therefore welcome a move to improve the support and services that the growers and producers so vitally need.”

7 May 2016 - Rebecca Sterritt Paragraph Publishing, content manager