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Wine Drinkers UK calls for first tax cut in 40 years

Published:  20 January, 2021

Wine Drinkers UK (WDUK) have renewed their calls for the government to recognise wine as the UK’s favourite drink by cutting increasingly burdensome taxes.

The group, which says it is ‘fed up with wine being unfairly taxed’ has renewed its efforts after it became clear that wine has been the alcoholic drink of choice for UK drinkers during the past year’s trio of lockdowns.

According to new YouGov research via WDUK, one in four (24%) say their spend on take-home wine has increased since the first lockdown last March, with 5% saying it has increased by nearly a third. Those living in London (30%) and the West Midlands (29%) said their spend has increased the most.

This is alongside the finding that a third (32%) of UK adults who drink alcohol say wine is their favourite alcoholic drink, beating beer (25%) and spirits (25%) into second and third place.

“Britain is without doubt a nation of wine lovers,” Helena Nicklin of Wine Drinkers UK said. “It is our favourite alcoholic drink and its popularity continues to grow. Wine is enjoyed by ordinary people across the country, the old stereotype of it being a drink only for the well-off middle class is a thing of the past.

“There hasn’t been a cut in wine tax for nearly 40 years and, since 2010, duty on wine has increased significantly more than on beer, cider and spirits. This impacts an industry that is increasingly important to the British economy and the millions of ordinary people in the UK who enjoy wine.”

Tax rises on wine have continued to rise over the last decade, totalling +39% over the past ten years, outstripping beer (16%) and spirits (27%).

Only 4% of people surveyed by YouGov correctly guessed the level of tax on a £5 bottle of wine was 61% (83p on VAT and £2.23 on duty).

While drinking wine at home hasn’t picked up all the slack from the closure of on-trade channels, off-trade still wine sales grew by 10% year-on-year in 2020. Off-trade sparkling wine sales increased by 5% (WSTA Market Report Dec 2020).

Wine Drinkers UK is a collection of wine lovers, makers and sellers. It launched the Cut Back Wine Tax campaign to achieve a fairer deal for wine drinkers across the country.