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More than a thousand members joined in to learn more about our wines in a series of exclusive online events just for Co-op Members, and the sessions proved such a success that we’re planning on hosting similar events in the future. 

When we checked in with members to find out how we could support their wellbeing during the lockdown earlier this year, members told us they wanted to learn more about Co-op products. So, working with our wine buyers, suppliers and producers, we launched four online sessions where members could hear the inspiring stories behind some of our amazing wines. 

Held via Zoom, almost 1,300 members got involved to listen, chat with other members and put their questions to our experts. Members were invited to pour a glass and taste along with us if they wanted, and there was wine to be won in our prize draws too. 

Fairtrade wines 

Described as informative and inspiring, our first event in July focussed on two Fairtrade wines – our  Co-op Fairtrade Irresistible Malbec, from Argentina, and  Co-op Fairtrade Irresistible Sauvignon Blanc, from South Africa. 

Hosted by our Fairtrade wine buyer Edward Robinson, almost 500 members joined producer Walter Carol as he explained how our Fairtrade Malbec wine is helping to support young people with their education in the communities where it is produced. 

Impressed by what they’d heard, and keen to lend their support, members said they could now make a more informed choice when buying products and would be seeking out Co-op Fairtrade wines in the future. 

“Thank you all at the Co-op – and especially Walter – for such an informative and inspiring event – a great thing to emerge from the pandemic new world.” 

Celia Holt

You can watch our Fairtrade wine session here

White Port 

In our second online event, Co-op wine buyer Sarah Benson and George Sandeman, chairman of the House of Sandeman, gave members an insight into how our versatile  Sandeman Fine White Port is made, and discussed the history of port in the Portuguese region. 

While some members were discovering white port for the first time, others hadn’t given this fortified wine much thought before. But this talk – which also covered serving suggestions including cocktail recipes and food pairings – had many changing their views. 

“We really enjoyed the talk. Looking forward to trying out the white port. Definitely chilled.” 

Hazel Stubbs

 Catch up on our Sandeman Fine White Port event here

Cava Brut 

It was all about the fizz in our third session, as more than 300 members heard our wine buyer Ben Cahill share his knowledge about our  Co-op Cava Brut

During the ‘informative and fun’ event, members gained a better understanding of sparkling styles as Ben explained the differences between Cava and Prosecco and gave his tips on Cava food pairings. 

“Thank you so much, Ben! So impressed by your knowledge and the way you shared it with us! I do hope that the Co-op will continue to do these wine tasting ‘Zooms’, even when things get back to ‘normal’. 

Jo Evans

You can watch the Cava Brut event here

Spanish Garnacha 

For our final virtual wine session, members were introduced to a wine that’s been in The Times’ Top 100 wines three times – our  Co-op Spanish Garnacha

Guest speaker David Gimeno, a producer from Bodegas Aragonesas Winery, was joined by David Gill, of Master of Wine, Kingsland Drinks, as members learnt about the work Co-op is doing to support some incredible old vines to keep the culture of this special Spanish wine alive. 

“Thank you, I really enjoyed understanding the background and can talk knowledgeably about the wine with friends.” 

Kay Twomlow

“I avoided buying it before, am going to get a stock of it now. I think tonight’s presentation is really interesting, a great idea.” 

Jon Baker 

If you missed our Spanish Garnacha session, you can catch up here

What’s next  

We know learning something new can be good for our mental health. Through these online wine events, we were able to create meaningful and fun ways for our members to join in, engage and learn about Co-op products while also supporting their wellbeing during the current pandemic. 

“Thank you from a single mum with no social life! This was interesting and different to join in with. Thanks again.” 

Marie Pearson 

“I’ve loved all of these. Great to learn from experts in an accessible way, also lovely to join with others during lockdown living on my own! 

Rachel Scott

Keep an eye out for future opportunities like this by logging into your online Membership account.  

For the facts about alcohol drinkaware.co.uk

Terry McLeod 
Member participation and engagement 

Read more on members getting involved with Co-op;

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#TheCoopWay, Food, Join In