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Brexit causes wine prices to rise

Published:  27 September, 2018

The average price of a bottle of wine has risen by almost 30p since the UK vote to leave the European Union (EU), according to new research.

Before the referendum result an average priced bottle of wine sold in the UK was £5.40 - a figure that has increased to £5.68 now, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s (WSTA) latest Market Report released today.

In the 18 months running up to the vote wine prices had remained stable, but have since increased by 5%, according to the report.

In addition, the report revealed volume sales of wine in the UK are plummeting, down 17% between 2015 and now compared to a 5% drop between 2012 and 2015.

In the 12 months to mid-June, out of the top 10 countries selling the most wine to UK restaurants and bars, eight showed declining sales. Only Italy – down to the popularity of Prosecco – and New Zealand have grown, the report stated.

Following the EU Referendum in 2016 the UK wine industry had done its best to absorb rising import costs, but as predicted it was only a matter of time before the effects of a weaker pound and costs were passed on to the consumer, said WSTA chief executive Miles Beale.

“The WSTA predicted that Brexit and the fall in the value of the pound, compounded by rising inflation, would force the UK wine industry to increase prices. Sadly, this is now a reality with the average priced bottle of wine in the UK now at an all-time high.”

Beale also raised concern about the impending Autumn Budget with a planned 3.4% rise on alcohol duty expected to add another 7p to the average priced bottle of wine.

“The Chancellor can take action to help both our industry and the consumer by freezing duty in his November Budget,” he said.

“Currently, duty is set to rise in line with RPI inflation, which in the current economic climate, not to mention price rises as a result of Brexit, is a painful and unnecessary blow to an industry that already has more than enough to contend with.”

With 99% of the wine drunk in the UK imported, a no deal Brexit was an “extremely alarming prospect” particularly for those working in the wine industry, he added.