Wine is the UK’s most popular alcoholic drink. It is a vital component of the offering of pubs and bars, provides the toast at all life’s celebrations, and no British meal is great unless accompanied with a good bottle! Wine is enjoyed by some 33 million consumers in the UK. While recent years have seen a welcome growth in the English and Welsh wine sector, around 99% of wine consumed in the UK is imported, approximately half from the EU.
Many people are not fully aware of the UK’s position as a major hub for the global wine trade nor of the economic value of the wine industry to the UK. The UK is the second largest importer of wine by volume in the world, and perhaps surprisingly, as a result of the fine wine market and bulk bottling in the UK, wine is the UK’s 6th biggest food and drink export, worth over £646 million in 2019 – ahead of beef, pork and beer exports in terms of value. Annual wine sales of £11 billion result in over £6 billion to the Exchequer in Excise Duty and VAT alone and support 130,000 jobs across the supply chain. Frankly, wine is as valuable to our economy as it is to our Great British lifestyle.
For UK wine businesses, their greatest worry about the end of the transition period is the introduction of V-1 documents for EU wines. This campaign aims to give those businesses the opportunity to demonstrate their concerns and help policy makers understand the changes that could be made to mitigate those risks, meet the Government’s aim of dismantling trade barriers and costs, and to provide solutions to help the UK wine industry thrive in the future.
The introduction of wine import documentation (VI-1s) for wine imported from the EU from January 2021 would have a significant negative impact on the whole of the UK wine industry, threatening the economic viability of a number of businesses – potentially resulting in business closures or relocating outside UK, job losses and a reduction of excise duty payments to the Exchequer.
The WSTA is calling for:
- A Government commitment to suspend the introduction of the VI-1 requirement for wine from the EU from 1 January 2021, to ensure continuity of consumer choice and ensure there are no significant price increases in the short term; and, ultimately
- The removal of VI-1s for all wine imports into the UK. Review the need for import certificates for wine.
How you can help
- Get in touch with your MP! Contact Bex (email@example.com) for a draft letter.
- Tweet your support! Contact Lucy (firstname.lastname@example.org) for tweet ideas.
- If you’re not already a member… join the WSTA! Our message is stronger when the industry is united. Contact Jess (email@example.com) for more information.