It’s taken years but I’ve finally remembered not to book any work trips over Wimbledon fortnight. No more standing in a cellar in some miles-away part of Spain trying to get reception to check on the scores. No more dashing round a hot airport on a Sunday searching for a telly. Yes, in the last two weeks I might have spent quite a lot of time ‘working on my laptop’ with tennis commentary spooling in the background. Also the big outdoor screen in Hammersmith showing all the tennis matches has been quite tempting. It has rows of low-slung canvas deck chairs parked right in front of it. So easy to get into. So hard to get out of.
I love the eye-feast of the colours, the ripples of amusement from the crowd, David Beckham’s scrunchy-eyed wave after he catches a mis-hit ball, the drama of Hawk Eye, the marathon of the matches that go to five sets, the nerve, the mettle, the whole darn thing.
No wonder brands are queuing up to be associated with the tournament. I am such a sucker for this sort of thing that I have actually caught myself reaching for the evian in the supermarket, clearly subliminally believing that if I drink enough of it, I might actually become co-ordinated enough to make a connection between racket and ball rather than ducking and running (away) if it’s hit anywhere near me.
I thought Wimbledon’s alcohol sponsors might not get such a good deal out of the whole thing because the connection to the players is more remote. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you don’t see Roger Federer taking a swig of (official Wimbledon still wine) Jacob’s Creek as he heads out onto Centre Court or the umpire making a good decision as he takes a sip of champagne sponsor Lanson. But clearly it works for them: last year 28,000 bottles of Lanson champagne were drunk at the tournament. The association has helped Lanson’s softly fruity rosé to become the best-selling pink champagne in the country, and the smart little neoprene tennis ball cooler-jackets provide a reminder of good times throughout the year. Similarly, Jacob’s Creek see their sales rise significantly. “It’s not just about those who can get to a game,” says a spokeswoman, “It’s also about that lovely moment at the end of the day, when you go home and pour a glass of Jacob’s Creek as you switch on the tennis.”
I think some readers may have forgotten that Jacob’s Creek make rather good wine (the whites are the ones to go for – especially the riesling, also the chardonnay) and so I have a mixed case of six bottles* to give away** to one reader. For a chance to win, just leave a comment on this post by midnight on Sunday (Men’s Final Day). A winner will be selected at random and notified by the end of the week.
Update: And the winner is….Martin McElroy. Martin, I’m emailing you.
* We’re not quite sure what. There will be riesling because I love that. There will also be shiraz rosé because that’s what Jacob’s Creek reckon is the best match with strawberries and cream.
** terms and conditions apply: entrants must be aged 18 or over and live in the UK. The judge’s (that’s mine) decision is final.