Brexit: New report highlights fears for Britain’s wine trade

By James Beeson

- Last updated on GMT

Fears: Brexit negotiations could disrupt wine trade between the UK and the EU
Fears: Brexit negotiations could disrupt wine trade between the UK and the EU
More than 99% of wine drunk in the UK is imported, according to a new report from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA). 

Around half comes from Europe, raising new fears that Brexit could pose a major threat to Britain’s wine trade.

According to the WSTA report, sales of sparkling wine and Champagne in the UK have increased by 72% since 2012, making the UK the sixth largest sparkling wine market in the world.

'Frictionless' post-Brexit trade needed

Last year alone, sales of sparkling wine grew by 12%, while a huge 97% of 18-24 year olds polled by WSTA said they drank Prosecco.

But after last year’s referendum and the recent devaluation of the pound, prices of wine are starting to rise, WSTA warns. The organisation argues that prices will continue to go up unless “frictionless” post-Brexit trade is secured.

Commenting on the report, WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “Our Wine Report​ for 2017 shows that Brits’ thirst for sparkling wine continues to grow, and also underlines the value of the wine trade to the UK economy, not to mention the enormous tax contribution our industry makes to the Treasury’s coffers."

EU trade key to 'continued growth'

“Over two-thirds of UK trade in wine is with the EU," he said, "and the question of how to keep the UK at the heart of the world wine trade post-Brexit is key if we want to see continued growth in years to come.

“The WSTA view is crystal clear. Brexit negotiations must avoid disruption to existing trade, a view that is strongly supported by our colleagues in the EU wine and spirit trade. We are working together to forge a plan that keeps our historic trade flows intact, regardless of any posturing either in Westminster or Brussels.”

Last week, the Government’s plan to assess the economic contribution of EU migrants was welcomed by leading bodies within the food and drink industry.

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