Brexit could put the fizz into UK wine industry

The UK’s wine industry could be in line for a major boost if the cost of importing wine from the EU rockets after Brexit, according to an expert from the University of Northampton.

Drinks industry specialist Simon Wragg has speculated on the likely impact of the UK leaving the European Union, saying it could be good news for British wine producers.

“The UK is a huge importer of wine from EU countries,” said Simon, who lectures in marketing at the University of Northampton. “A Doomsday scenario could see the UK introduce trade tariffs on EU wine, which would push up the price of a bottle significantly for UK consumers.

“This could be disastrous for France, Italy, Spain, Germany and other EU producers. Some EU suppliers are already vulnerable to a decline in trade, due to poor weather conditions, so to have barriers put up could pile on the pressure among some European growers.

“This situation could, of course, favour the UK’s own wine-producers, who might look to increase their domestic market share in UK supermarkets, filling up empty shelf space created due to the scarcity of imported EU wine.”

If reciprocal trade barriers were put in place by the EU, Simon believes this could present a great opportunity for the UK to expand beyond its domestic market.

“Realistically, we are never going to be major exporters of wine to the established wine-making EU nations,” he said. “But, there may be an opportunity to sign trade deals with non-EU countries, for example the USA, Japan and China, which has an increasing thirst for wine.”

Simon’s predictions have been welcomed by Julia Bennett, who runs Brynne Vineyard with her husband Mark in the village of Brixworth, five miles north of Northampton. “You can buy a bottle of EU wine for £3 or £4 a bottle from Lidl and I can’t make it for that price, let alone sell it for that,” she said.

“If the price of EU wine was to increase significantly, it would be good news for us domestic producers, as we might finally have the competitive edge.

“Despite UK wine generally costing more than EU supermarket wine, we are finding there is a growing demand for locally produced, good quality food and drink. People like to know where their produce comes from, and make a conscious effort to support local businesses.”

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