'Everyone was dreaming about reuniting with loved ones, so we came up with a unique idea'

After months apart, friends and family members will be reuniting as the pandemic lockdowns gradually lift.

Depending on where you are in the world, this reunion might still be socially distanced, but seeing loved ones will no doubt bring joy to many.

For Spaniard Jorge Fesser, Managing Director of creative agency MONO Madrid, reuniting with his father, who had spent 65 days in hospital with Covid-19, sparked an idea.

“My dad had to go to hospital, all of a sudden he started feeling really weak,” he said. “In a matter of days he had a breathing machine assisting him 24/7 for 35 days, in which we could not go and visit him due to the risk of getting the infection. Obviously, he was sedated so we couldn’t talk to him either.

“Every morning we had a call from the doctors in hospital giving us an update on how he was performing and how his lungs were reacting to the treatment. As you can imagine those were quite tough days, without much information.

“In Spain by then we had started lockdown, so we couldn’t leave the house and pay him a visit even if he wasn’t asleep. It was hard to keep the positive thoughts.

“Something that got me going during that time was imagining when he would leave the hospital and thinking of something we could share again, a nice glass of wine together. That was the beginning of the project really.”

Jorge partnered with illustrator 72 kilos and winery, Gill Family Estates to turn this idea into a reality.

They launched two wines, a white and a red, with customisable labels so people could write messages to loved ones on them. Additionally, Jorge explained that all proceeds were going to Spain’s Federation of Food Bank, which supports more than a million and a half people in the country. They’ve sold over 4,000 bottles so far.

“We created personal wine labels, which you don’t often see,” he said. “Everyone was dreaming about the moment they would reunite with their loved ones and share some wine, so we wanted to make the label customisable. So, you could write the name of your friend or family on the label.

“We started pitching the project to wineries. We wanted to make this idea real. I had another friend who works in a winery here in Spain, and I gave him a call and asked if he’d be interested in hearing about the proposal I had. He loved it! He was generous in finding the way to make this feasible, particularly from a cost perspective.

“The winery decided to donate all their profits from this to a food bank in Spain. A lot of people lost their jobs, so this was great to continue the positive energy thread and to help those in need.”

So, what happened when Jorge reunited with his father and gifted him a personalised bottle of wine?

“When he read the label on the bottle and the back story, he had a little tear in his eye,” Jorge said. “He’s much better, he is at home and in recovery.”

At the moment, the wines can only be purchased in Spain – you can find out more here: https://store.gilfamily.es/es/bodegas/vinos-solidarios

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