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Genuine Jersey heads for Europe

Date: 26/10/2005 | Posted by John Garton
Two members of the Genuine Jersey Products Association are taking part in a huge lifestyle fair in Belgium this weekend. La Mare Vineyards and Remi Couriard Fine Furniture have been invited to attend ‘Countryside 2005’ in Ghent by Jersey Tourism after Jersey was picked as the guest nation for the VisitBritain stand.

They will be sitting alongside the likes of Barbour and Laura Ashley at the VisitBritain stand and will be joined in the Jersey section by a Jersey Tourism representative and Birgit de Foort, the Jersey Tourism representative in Belgium.

A number of products from other Genuine Jersey members will also be given out to delegates attending a special dinner as part of the weekend, providing further exposure for the host of quality goods produced in the Island.

It is the first time that La Mare Vineyards has taken part in a marketing event outside Jersey and the company will be promoting its black butter and new cream liqueur, including tastings and a DVD presentation. Meanwhile, Remi Couriard will be displaying his contemporary furniture and carrying out wood carving demonstrations.

Tim Crowley, managing director of La Mare Vineyards, explains that in the past, product availability has prevented them from actively marketing their products beyond Jersey. However, a decision to grow more apples and invest in new equipment means that they are now able to meet a greater demand for their apple-based products.

He says: “There is only so much that we can produce from the vineyard and the red wine, for example, sells out within seven months. However, we now have an abundance of apples and our aim has always been to break into new markets in the

UK and Europe with the black butter and cream liqueur. We are very excited about going to Belgium because we already have a great following of German, Belgian and French customers who come to the vineyard and we are confident that there is an export market out there.”

As well as providing a fantastic opportunity to promote La Mare Vineyards, Tim says that the Belgium fair will also give them vital experience ahead of taking part for the first time in the prestigious London Wine Fair in May 2006.

Although he has previously displayed his furniture in France, this is the first time in four years that Remi Couriard will have actively marketed his work outside Jersey. He will also be promoting Jersey as a holiday destination on behalf of Jersey Tourism, who employ him on a freelance basis to deal with tour agents and journalists.

He says: “I am very excited about the show and the opportunity to tell people that there is so much more to the Island than just beaches. Jersey is well-known for its cows and it produce, but there is also an atmosphere that is producing artisans and high quality art.”

While other countries will be providing goodie bags for delegates at the special dinner for the fair, those who sit on the ‘Jersey’ table will each receive a miniature Jersey Royal potato box, made by the Jersey Box Company. It will contain honey from Andre Militis; lavender from the Lavender Farm; soap from Samares Manor Soap Shop; and apple brandy and fudge from La Mare Vineyards – all of whom are members of Genuine Jersey.

Ken Syvret, chairman of the Genuine Jersey Products Association, says: “The fair is a fantastic opportunity to spread the ‘Genuine Jersey’ message and we are delighted that so many of our members are taking part. Islanders and visitors are becoming more and more aware of the variety of quality Jersey products and perhaps it is now time to spread the word outside the Island.”

Mike Tait, Jersey Tourism’s PR manager, says: “Countryside 2005 is a great opportunity to promote Jersey using messages that ‘Genuine Jersey’ evokes, namely the quality of food and lifestyle enjoyed in the Island that makes it so attractive to potential holidaymakers. The profile of Jersey attending the Belgian Countryside Fair also promises to be extremely high. Key Belgian media were invited to visit the Island in June ahead of the fair with the express intention of preparing article to precede the event. As a result, more than 11 pages in national newspapers and magazines appeared over the weekend, with more to follow.