Graft founder Nik Darlington sets out to explore some of the country’s hidden vineyardsGraft Wine Company founder Nik Darlington will be marking this year’s English Wine Week (20th to 28th June) by attempting to run 100 kilometres over the course of the week around English vineyards and raising funds for The Drinks Trust in the process.

The 100K English Wine Week Challenge is a challenge to everyone to run, walk or cycle as far as they can during the week with the only requirement being that they go via at least one vineyard – or ideally more than one!

Two Strava ‘Clubs’ been set up for cyclists and runners / walkers with the popular running & cycling app so that people can join in and track their own progress throughout the week.

Starting in the Test Valley at the almost-finished Black Chalk winery and vineyards on Monday, 22nd June, over the course of the week Nik will be traversing vineyards in the North Downs, the Itchen Valley, the Lod Valley and the Wey Valley.

Live updates will be posted throughout the week including during the runs themselves with live streaming along the way.

Nik Darlington said:

“This began as just a way for me to get to know the countryside around me a bit better and discover our local vineyards. The idea snowballed from there!

“Our wine lands aren’t like Bordeaux or Stellenbosch with vines carpeting the horizon. Most of our vineyards are small and tucked away. You need to dig a bit deeper to find many of them, so this is also a way of encouraging people during English Wine Week to get outside and find them.

“There is something so captivating about turning the corner and finding oneself in a vineyard, wherever in the world you are but especially here at home.

“I am a keen runner, but I’ve never run this kind of mileage in this space of time so I’m quite nervous, especially about some of the hills involved along the North Downs, but also very excited about exploring the vineyard, many of which I hadn’t heard of before and some are hard to access but everyone I’ve spoken to has been so kind and supportive.”

Nik is aiming to raise funds for The Drinks Trust and has a Just Giving page set up if people wish to donate. The Drinks Trust is engaged in vital campaigns for drinks industry professionals affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its effects in the UK.

Ross Carter, chief executive of The Drinks Trust, said:

“We are always impressed with the challenges people take in order to raise money for The Drinks Trust and Nik’s is truly exceptional. Thank you for your support and what a brilliant way to celebrate English Wine Week. We hope there’s a glass of something waiting for you to celebrate each leg of your run!”

Julia Trustram Eve, marketing manager of WineGB, said:

“What an amazing challenge Nik is doing for The Drinks Trust and to shine a spotlight on the GB wine industry during English Wine Week! He’ll be getting a cheer from all the vineyards he runs past and a huge cheer from all at WineGB for this incredible feat. If you are in the area, do join him! And importantly, please support him and this terrific charity.”


Notes for editors:
• A great resource in planning the routes was Stephen Skelton MW’s interactive vineyards map on
• The main web link for the challenge is here
• The Strava Club for runners is found here
• The Strava Club for runners is found here

To get in touch with Nik Darlington, email

Nik’s JustGiving page is: