The Government plans to free British wine producers and importers from unnecessary red tape thanks to proposed changes to retained EU laws on the production and marketing of wine, providing a £180m boost to the wine industry, opening the market to new products, and growing the economy.
The changes will allow wine makers the freedom to pick from a wider range of vines, including more disease resistant varieties, and overturn the restrictions which currently prevent the wine industry from producing new blends. Bottlers will also be able to turn imported wine into sparkling wine.
Changes will also include removing expensive and cumbersome packaging requirements – such as ending the mandatory requirement that certain sparkling wines must have foil caps and mushroom stoppers.
Domestic wine makers will also be free to show a variety and vintage of any wine without having to go through laborious, previously EU-mandated applications processes.
The package of reforms follows engagement with the sector and are made possible by powers under the Retained EU Law Bill which are being used to remove any constraints from our economy whilst ensuring our high standards are not compromised.
Food and Drink Secretary Food and Drink Thérèse Coffey said:
The UK has over 800 thriving vineyards at home and hundreds of millions of pounds worth of wine trade going through UK ports every year.
But for too long our producers have been held back by cumbersome inherited EU regulations. We will give them the freedom they need to thrive.
These reforms will put a rocket under our wine makers’ businesses – growing the economy, creating jobs and supporting a vital part of our food and drink sector.
Allowing businesses bringing bulk wine into the to be able to blend, will , it is claimed, benefit importers, bottlers – and ultimately consumers while labelling changes will 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.
The consultation – due to launch shortly – will seek views on the nature, scope and timings of all the proposed changes from a variety of stakeholders in the industry.
Image: By Bob Jones, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9353925