The report by the Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) that global wine production this year is set to fall to its lowest level since 1961 is of real concern for UK wine businesses. The UK is at the centre of the global wine industry and generates £19.9billion in economic activity. Huge containers of wine are shipped to the UK, bottled here and re-shipped across the world, creating UK 172,000 jobs, with a further 105,000 indirectly employed throughout the supply chain.
Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said:
“Following frost and drought across Europe, and wildfires across the USA, winemakers globally are facing a drastically reduced harvest this year. It’s a keen reminder that wine production remains at the mercy of the weather. As the biggest per capita importer of wine in an international market, the UK is bound to feel the effects of an increasingly challenging environment. Prices for consumers will inevitably rise.
UK wine businesses have already had to contend with the sharp devaluation in sterling, rising inflation and uncertainty following the Brexit vote – all of which add cost to companies making wine available to the UK’s 30million consumers, who have already seen price hikes. These factors come on top of the Chancellor’s decision to impose a hefty 3.9% increase in alcohol duties earlier this year, which saw the average priced bottle of wine sold in shops hit £5.58, up 4% on last year.
The last thing UK wine businesses, their employees or British consumers need now is another rise in excise duty in the Chancellor’s second Budget on 22 November. Philip Hammond should take note and freeze duty.”