Government swerves to avoid wine price hikes

Finance

Industry bosses have hailed a “major win for wine lovers” as the government announced it was scrapping plans for import certificates.

The proposed paperwork, which ministers are now calling “red tape”, would have added up to £130 million onto wines brought into Britain from the EU.

Sources suggest it could have pushed prices up by between 10p to 13p a bottle.

The rules were meant to come into force in January this year, before being pushed back to July and then December.

READ MORE: Yeovil Wine Vaults director banned for 2nd time

International trade minister Ranil Jayawardena said the government was allowing “top-quality products from around the world” into the country by ditching its own proposals.

“It’s fantastic that the British people will no longer have to pay for unnecessary bureaucracy when they buy a bottle of wine,” he continued.

Imported wines would also have needed laboratory analysis, prompting concerns that smaller producers could not afford to export to the UK.

Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) calculations suggest this would have cost £330 per shipment.

WSTA head Miles Beale hailed “a truly fantastic outcome”, having warned the rules would mean “wine price hikes, permanently disrupted supply and drastically reduced consumer choice”.

“This is a major win for wine lovers and the UK wine industry,” he said.

“I am sure corks will be popping across the globe in celebration of this most welcome news.”

The news comes as sources claimed a new import tax could mean American wines disappearing from shelves.

International trade minister Liz Truss has suggested a 25 per cent levy as a response to former president Donald Trump’s steel import tariffs.

Kingsland Drinks managing director Ed Baker said the move could make US wines “unfeasible” in Britain.

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