19 Mar - Very, very many congratulations to everyone involved in Comic Relief 2011, which has so far raised a record total of £74 million and the money is still coming in. We fully expect our contribution from Wine Relief to be well over the £345,000 announced below once everything is totted up, not least Farr Vintners' huge contribution, which will be at least £150,000.
18 Mar, Red Nose Day - It's not too late to make your contribution to Wine Relief which has already made over £345,000, as will be announced on BBC1 tonight, we are delighted and very relieved to report.
Just go to the Wine Relief donation page and click, rather counter-intuitively, on Sponsor This Team.
16 Mar - We wish all those at tonight's Edinburgh event for Wine Relief a great evening. Please give generously!
And the Big Red Wine Company has entered the fray with 10% of the price of two Wine Relief selections described here destined for Comic Relief. They are also planning a special event this Friday, Red Nose Day.
15 Mar - A truly wonderful Paulée de Purple Pages last night with many, many great bottles brought by generous participants. Report and pictures just published.
14 Mar - Our fully subscribed Paulée de Purple Pages takes place tonight and is looking great. Please note that Rowley Leigh is also holding a similar event tonight at his Café Anglais, London W2. Details and bookings via 020 7221 1415.
13 Mar - I forgot to mention (perhaps owing to subconscious embarrassment at having to demonstrate how to taste wine wearing a red nose) that I was on BBC1's Saturday Kitchen in aid of Wine Relief yesterday. You can see it here.
11 Mar - Some more great items have been added to the Bid for Wine online auction, and don't forget that the most effective way to donate to Wine Relief is via this dedicated Wine Relief donation page (which is more than a mite confusing - please just click on the Sponsor This Team button). For background on Wine Relief, see here.
9 Mar - Absolutely thrilling news! Farr Vintners announce that they have already raised £50,000 for Wine Relief via the offer mentioned below whereby they donate £20 for every case they sell during March. It's looking as though this year, for the first time, the single greatest donation will come from the fine wine trade rather than the mass market end.
The great thing about Wine Relief this year is that it is involving a much wider range of donors big and small than it ever has done in the past - very much in the spirit of Comic Relief to which well over 60% of the entire UK population have traditionally been involved in some way.
See details of the Bid for Wine online auction launched today.
4 Mar - Red & White of Kingsbridge, Devon are holding a tasting/quiz/fine wine auction in aid of Wine Relief on Thursday 17 March, the night before Red Nose Day. See www.red-white.co.uk for full information.
Also in Devon, Christopher Piper Wines are really entering into the spirit of things with the window display below. They are offering two cases of specially selected wine by www.christopherpiperwines.co.uk, with 10% of sales going direct to Wine Relief.
Christopher Piper Wines are also holding a wine tasting in their shop in Ottery on Red Nose Day Friday 18 March, with a £2 donation per head going to Comic Relief and 10% off a selected range of wines in the shop, including Chris Piper's Château du Pavé Brouilly, Domaine Bois d'Yver Chablis and Excelsior Estate Stablemate Chardonnay from South Africa.
2 Mar - Sud de France have organised an online prize draw for five cases of delicious southern French wines. More details here.And Bid for Wine have very kindly volunteered to organise a pro bono online auction of various wonderful bottles that have been offered in aid of Wine Relief. Anyone wishing to donate a lot (or two!) for this great cause should contact Lionel Nierop at email@example.com. More details to follow.
Wines of Uruguay have put together two mixed cases, 12 bottles at £140 and six more modest assorted bottles at £50, with 10% of all receipts going straight to Wine Relief. See details here.
26 Feb - See my overview of the UK's major retailers' Wine Relief wines here.
25 Feb - Best news yet in terms of the total amount likely to be raised for Wine Relief: The UK's biggest fine wine traders Farr Vintners are to give £20 to Wine Relief for every case of wine they sell in March, and are pretty confident this will result in a total donation of £100,000!!! Might this spur on any other solvent wine trader or merchant to do something, however modest, for Wine Relief?
24 Feb - To make it even easier to raise money for Wine Relief, we have created a special Wine Relief donation page on Comic Relief's website. That way, if you are kind enough to do anything for the cause, or simply want to make a donation, you can do so here and help to swell our total. Wink Lorch has also very kindly created a Facebook page for Wine Relief. Please feel free to add to it.
23 Feb - Berrys' auction for a money-can't-buy dinner is now live here. They are conducting it on Twitter. Who would have thought it so very little time ago?
My reviews of the 80 Wine Relief wines are just published on Purple pages, with a free overview to be published on Saturday. Get buying!
22 Feb - See Wink Lorch's special Savoie wine auction item here. I am thrilled that Wine Relief 2011 seems to be involving such a wide range of wine people/outfits.
21 Feb - See details of Lea & Sandeman's Wine Relief case here. £25 goes straight to Comic Relief for every case sold. Keep those ideas coming, please!
18 Feb - See details of our Paulée de Purple Pages - a very special bring-a-bottle dinner in London on Monday 14 March. If you have been wondering what to do with that very special bottle, consider sharing it with fellow wine enthusiasts in aid of an extremely good cause.
There are also masses of ways to raise funds for Wine Relief that involve a very much lower capital outlay.
For a start, you could organise your own more modest bring-a-bottle party, simple tasting or dinner, setting up your own donation page via http://www.rednoseday.com/fundraise/fundraise-online.
Then you could buy some of the 80 special Wine Relief wines that I will be reviewing next week. My fellow wine writer Simon Woods has already published his reviews at www.simonwoods.com. These wines are being sold by many of the major retailers including M&S, Waitrose, Majestic, Booths, Wine Rack, Laithwaites and Virgin and 10% of the price goes straight to supporting Comic Relief's projects in the UK and Africa. (Comic Relief operates on zero overheads, so every pound raised goes straight to changing lives for the better.)
Berry Bros will be yet again be getting behind Wine Relief with an online auction of a very special event. Farr Vintners are planning a de luxe fundraiser, possibly involving football (see above). Lea & Sandeman will be creating a mixed case for sale on their website, donating £25 for every one sold (see above). There will be a special fundraiser at the annual Portuguese wine tasting early next month, and Purple pager Wink Lorch will be auctioning another great wine-tasting opportunity (see Discover Savoie's best for Wine Relief).
Please join in, either by organising your own event or by supporting some of these fundraising initiatives.
12 Feb - It's that time again. Wine Relief, the wine-related fundraising campaign that raises money for Comic Relief's admirable work with those who most need help in Africa and the UK, is launched officially on Monday.
As longstanding visitors to this site will know, Comic Relief springs into action at this time of year every two years and we wine lovers have played a significant part in it all since 1999. The main fundraising mechanic is that the major retailers choose a selection of wines and a full 10% of the retail price of all these wines sold during the weeks leading up to the denouement on Red Nose Day, Friday 18 March this year, goes straight to Comic Relief. For a report on the activities in 2009, see Wine Relief 2009 - £880,000+!
In 2009 we commissioned two special Red Nose wines, a red and a white from South Africa, but this year we are reverting to the old model and I'm delighted to say that the range of wines chosen is better than ever, with many of them of real interest to the serious wine lover. I'll be reporting in detail on them the week after next but, meanwhile, see Friday's wine of the week.
However, I'm publishing this nudge now to ask you, especially if you are in the wine trade or have access to groups of wine lovers, to see if you can dream up some way of raising funds for Wine Relief 2011. Here are just some of the ways it can be done:
Any funds you raise can be donated via our special Wine Relief donation page on the Comic Relief website.