A combination of climate change, labor shortages and rising shipping costs are threatening Britain’s wine supply and, according to Wine Drinkers UK (WDUK), price increases are likely to follow.
In response, a group of wine lovers, producers and sellers, called on the government to commit to a freeze on wine taxes in its upcoming budget to support the industry and wine drinkers.
His call follows the Wine and Liquor Trade Association, which earlier this week asked the Treasury to freeze wine and spirits tariffs and extend hospitality VAT cuts in the fall budget to allow the country to halt the Covid-19 decline.
This is not the first time WDUK has called for tax breaks for the wine sector. Earlier this year, he renewed the government’s recognition of wine as Britain’s most popular drink and cut increasingly heavy taxes.
Wine writer, cameraman and WDUK supporter Helena Nicklin says: “About 99% of the wine we consume in the UK is imported, so British wine drinkers will be feeling the effects of the perfect storm hitting the sector.
“Currently, more than 50% of the price of a bottle of wine bought in a store goes directly into the state treasury. It’s time to see support in the upcoming budget for this industry that generates £11 billion per year for the UK economy alone.
WDUK said that with French, Italian and British grapes hit by extreme weather conditions and short yields, California grapes hit by bushfires, and New Zealand feeling the effects of their closed borders with labor shortages to harvest, this was a challenging time for the industry.
It highlights data, including from New Zealand vineyards, showing the Central Highlands region – including Weyrarapa, Marlborough, Nelson and North Canterbury – with yields of more than 20% compared to 2020.
David Gates, CEO of Direct Wines, said, “Reliable weather is of course essential for winemaking and we are very concerned about what we have heard from our network of 427 wineries, mostly family wineries worldwide. After the war against Covid-19, some very challenging harvests in many areas have proved very difficult for many. “
Chris Stroud, European Markets Manager for New Zealand Growers added, “New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most popular wines in the UK, but there is a very real possibility that consumers will have a hard time catching it this winter.
“Strong demand combined with significant crop shortages, as the combination of labor shortages and rising shipping costs have affected supply, means difficult decisions are being made to meet the needs of commercial customers, retailers and consumers.”