Wine hoarded ahead of Brexit

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Corked: Brexit leaves wine trade unsure of prices
Corked: Brexit leaves wine trade unsure of prices

Related tags Wine

Wine wholesalers are bulk-stocking products ahead of Brexit amid concerns of a potential deal without tariffs on EU wines.

Along with potential increases in tariffs, the wine trade also faces an increase in duty on 1 February, adding 20p to the price of a bottle and taking the average amount paid to £5.73.

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) is therefore urging the Government for clarity on its post 'no deal' tariff plans, adding that a no deal Brexit would see wine prices hit an all-time high.

Stockists including Enotria have already spent significant sums of money to bulk up on European wines.

Bibendum has a robust Brexit plan

Direct Wines is set to bring in 2m bottles extra – about a 40% increase – while Bibendum has said a “robust Brexit” plan has been enforced that will see it ordering more wine.

Last year, Majestic bulk-bought 1.5m more bottles of EU wine as part of its emergency planning.

WSTA advised members to increase stocks by at least 20% in case of a no deal Brexit.

“In the event of a no deal Brexit, the WSTA belies that a temporary suspension on all wine tariffs for six to 12 months would massively reduce the strain on the supply chain that a no deal Brexit will inevitably bring about,” said the WSTA.

Small impact on the Treasury

The organisation claimed there would be a small impact on the Treasury should this be implemented while, in the long run, it could even cost the Government less than having a system for collecting tariffs on products currently entering the UK for free.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “Since the referendum, the WSTA has campaigned consistently for a deal with the EU that delivers frictionless trade in goods, with no additional tariffs or costs.

“If the UK ends up with a no deal Brexit then wine businesses will have to cope with additional tariffs as well as another duty rise – which is highly likely to end up full square in the consumer’s lap, bumping up wine prices to an all-time high.”

There are currently no tariffs on wines from the EU, Chile and South Africa. However, a no deal Brexit could see tariff costs rise by over £100m a year for importers.

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