The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has confirmed that there are already wine supply difficulties while Robert Foye, chief executive officer, at Accolade Wines, recently admitted there would be supply issues of wine and prosecco in the lead up to Christmas.
A combination of issues with supply, lack of HGV drivers, labour shortage, red tape for imports and availability of sea freight are factors that are affecting the market.
Many in the food and drink sector have already called for a 12-month Covid Recovery Visa to help alleviate the problems in the supply chain.
“Many of our members are already experiencing supply difficulties, resulting in very real concerns that some the UK’s favourite wines will not be available in the run up to Christmas. Suppliers are looking closely at stock levels and transport slots, but wines take time to source, import and then bottle.
"At the same time the challenges of lorries and containers availability, as well as labour – especially HGV drivers, warehouse and hospitality staff – are well documented,” said Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA.
“In addition, there is a mass of paperwork required at the border, with more red tape in the works. On the back of our success persuading the Government to remove VI-1 certificates we are talking to our members and working with Government to get rid of all unnecessary red tape and to improve electronic systems.
"So many import/export requirements are electronic that electronic solutions must be feasible and we must encourage customs officers not to rely on pieces of paper. We also hope to push the Government to establish sensible protocols, for example a target time of two days for exports from an EU port to arrival in a UK warehouse.”
Accolade Wines chief executive officer Robert Foye told The Morning Advertiser the company was working to address the disruption.
“A number of industry sectors, including wine, have expressed a strong desire for the UK Government to introduce a 12-month Covid-19 recovery visa to ease labour shortages, including those that are affecting the supply chain.
"We believe that by moving quickly, the UK Government may be able to avoid further supply chain bottlenecks in the lead up to Christmas across a range of sectors and the industry stands ready to work with the UK Government, through the Food and Drink Federation, and WSTA, in conjunction with Logistics UK and the Road Haulage Association, to ensure these disruptions are kept to a minimum,” Foye said.
“In addition to domestic issues, such as HGV driver shortages, there continues to be significant concerns over cost, frequency and availability of sea freight across to the UK and around the globe.
"This is a major issue that affects everything from the availability of wine through to the packaging that is used to transport products across the world. On this issue, we welcome efforts by the UK Government to work with trading partners and industry to ensure there is fairness in the way sea freight is allocated globally and that manufacturers aren’t being charged unreasonable prices to secure scarce capacity in the current environment.”