Removing ‘red tape’ could boost UK wine industry by £180m

in Law
23 May 2023

The UK wine industry could soon be toasting growth worth £180m after plans to remove EU red tape were announced by the government. 

The UK currently retains hundreds of pieces of EU legislation after the country formally left the trading bloc. 

But the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), has announced a raft of reforms to existing EU legislation which currently control the production and marketing of wine.

Proposed changes will allow imported wine to be blended in the UK, which the government said will boost domestic industries by enabling the production of new product lines. Producers will also be permitted to turn imported wine into sparkling wine.

Other rules due to be axed include ending the mandatory requirement that certain sparkling wines must have foil caps and mushroom stoppers.

Defra said the impact of these changes would give businesses the freedom to pick from a wider range of vines, including more disease-resistant varieties. This could also bolster innovation by opening the market to new products, and grow the economy.

Wine and Spirits Trade Association chief executive, Miles Beale, said: “We welcome the range of measures proposed today, many of which we have proposed publicly.

“By introducing greater flexibility, wine producers and importers won’t be forced to do anything differently but will be able to innovate. Allowing businesses bringing bulk wine into Great Britain to be able to blend, will benefit importers, bottlers and ultimately consumers.”

He added: “Labelling changes will also allow a common back label to be used in both EU and UK markets, maintaining the UK as an attractive market for all producers – large and small.”

Food and drink secretary, Thérèse Coffey, said: “These reforms will put a rocket under our winemakers' businesses – growing the economy, creating jobs and supporting a vital part of our food and drink sector.”

Business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch added: “Needless red tape stifles innovation and growth. Now we have taken back control of our laws, we can ensure they work in the best interests of our businesses.”

She added: “Reforming and scrapping burdensome regulation will help grow the economy and provide businesses with much-needed freedoms to innovate, create and thrive.”

The UK now has 897 vineyards, with the amount of land dedicated to wine growing up 70% in the last five years.

In 2021 sales of UK wines increased 31% compared to the previous year, to 9.3m bottles.

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