Wine-lovers to save £130m as Brexit frees imports from red tape


Wine-lovers are set to save about £130m per year as the Government uses its new Brexit freedoms to chop EU red tape on imports.

Each bottle could become 13p cheaper, according to the industry, thanks to the abolition of the VI-1 forms – a bureaucratic exercise which includes lab tests to verify the acidity of the wine, something which is not done for other drinks such as beer or spirits.

The Government is set to scrap the requirement for imports from outside the EU to come with the certificate, and has also abandoned its previous plans to impose the rule on wines coming from the EU to Britain.

Officials estimate the saving for consumers at £130m, while the industry believes it will save £100m on non-EU wines and avoid imposing costs of £70m on those from the continent.

However, British wine producers will still have to incur the cost of certification for sales into the EU.

Of all wine consumed in the UK, 99pc is imported. Of that, 55pc comes from the EU, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

It has long argued that the paperwork is simply a barrier to protect EU winemakers from foreign competitors.

“This is a truly historic moment for the UK’s world-leading wine trade. We have spent more than two years campaigning relentlessly to avoid the introduction of new import certificates for EU wine imports on the one hand and scrapping the unnecessary and costly VI-1 wine paperwork for non-EU wine imports on the other,” said Miles Beale, the industry group’s chief executive, warning that applying the forms to EU wines would have “reduced consumer choice and bumped up prices”.



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