The price of a bottle of wine is soaring as imports of food and drink from France and around the world become costlier.
Now the average price of a bottle has risen to an all-time high of £5.56. It leapt 3 per cent in the first 12 weeks of the year alone.
The rise has been driven by the fall in the value of the pound since the vote to leave the EU.
The price of a bottle of wine is soaring as imports of food and drink from France and around the world become costlier
The higher cost is bad news for British wine lovers and foreign wine producers for whom the UK is a key market.
For example, Britain imports more bottles of French champagne than any other country in the world. The cloud could also have a silver lining for England and our wine producers, who have picked up a series of prestigious awards and gold medals and are not subject to currency shifts.
Importantly, the currency shift means English sparkling wine producers will be taking advantage of the fact their premium fizz is now cheaper overseas to boost sales.
The figures come from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), which warned in October that the price of a bottle of wine from the EU could go up by an average of 29p as a result of Brexit, with the fall in the value of sterling having a ‘serious and immediate impact’ on importers.
It said 99 per cent of the 1.8billion bottles of wine drunk in the UK are imported. So any new tariffs added as a result of Brexit would have a ‘punishing’ effect.
The higher cost is bad news for British wine lovers and foreign wine producers for whom the UK is a key market
Its market report covering the 12 weeks to March 25 shows the average priced bottle of wine is up 19p compared with £5.37 at the same point in 2015 and up 16p from £5.40 in 2016.
It said the UK wine industry had done its best to absorb rising import costs, but it was ‘only a matter of time’ before any cushioning against the effects of a weaker pound ran out and costs were passed on to the consumer. WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: ‘Last year the WSTA predicted that Brexit and the fall in the value of the pound, compounded by rising inflation, would force the UK wine industry to up their prices. Sadly this is now a reality as an average priced bottle of wine in the UK is at an all-time high.
‘What is even more concerning is that this does not take into account the inflationary duty rise – at a painful 3.9 per cent – on alcohol inflicted by the Chancellor in the March Budget.’
He said the Government ‘must start showing its support for the UK wine industry and the 275,000 jobs that our industry supports by tackling our excessive duty rates’.