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WineGB welcomes MPs' support for UK wineries

Published:  07 October, 2019

WineGB has welcomed the move from a number of MPs for more support for the UK’s small vineyards.

The politicians, led by Kevin Hollinrake MP for Thirsk and Malton, called on the Treasury last week to reduce the amount of duty paid by small wine producers, in line with a similar scheme supporting small breweries.

WineGB is asking its members to contact their local MPs to encourage them to support the organisation’s own scheme submitted to the Treasury at the end of last year.

Under the WineGB proposals, relief on duty would be available to small wine producers on sales made direct to consumers at the cellar door.

The scheme would raise revenue for HMRC while also satisfying WTO and EU rules limiting on state aid for industry, Wine GB believes.

Simon Robinson, chairman of WineGB, said: “During this somewhat turbulent time it is encouraging to see a number of our MPs this week actively behind this initiative, that, if passed, will bring resounding benefits to the UK wine industry and thus to the UK economy as a whole.

“We wholeheartedly support this move and would be delighted to work with any MPs with vineyards in their constituency to highlight this significant opportunity which is of particular interest to our smaller producers.

“By encouraging vineyards to expand their cellar door facilities, the scheme would also encourage tourism more generally as well as much needed rural development and employment.”

The UK wine industry as a whole is continuing to expand. Nyetimber, which has eight vineyards across three counties, is harvesting from vineyards in Kent for the first time this year.

The harvest at Nyetimber began on Saturday and is expected to run for three weeks.

A 300-strong team of grape pickers will hand pick the winery’s 214ha of land under vine, comprising 104ha of Chardonnay, 74ha of Pinot Noir and 36ha of Pinot Meunier.

Cherie Spriggs, head winemaker at Nyetimber, said: “The 2019 harvest seems to be shaping up to be a more typical year than 2018, with the start of picking returning to early October.

“The growing conditions this year started with touches of spring frost, although we were largely unaffected, and a moderately warm, if at times wet, summer – all ‘typical’ factors in the UK which have previously resulted in great wines from years like 2009.

“Excellent work by our team in the vineyards has ensured optimal vine and fruit health, with all signs looking positive for both quality and quantity across West Sussex, Hampshire and Kent.”