Fresh opportunities for English sparkling wine in 2024
3rd January 2024
Changes to rules affecting the English wine industry will unlock innovation, cut waste and reduce burdens on the sector, the environment secretary has said.
Makers of English sparkling wine no longer need to use mushroom-shaped toppers and foil covers on bottlenecks, which will help to reduce waste and costs.
Restrictions on the making and selling of piquette have also been scrapped. Piquette is a lower alcohol drink that is made by extracting the remaining goodness from grapes left over after winemaking. Producers will have the opportunity to create new income streams and tap into consumer demand for lower-alcohol drinks.
Additionally, the government has removed the requirement for imported wines to have an importer address on the label, which reduces administrative burdens on businesses and has been welcomed by wine traders.
The changes, made possible by Brexit, came into effect on 1st January.
Environment secretary Steve Barclay said: “Our departure from the EU gives us the opportunity to review and scrap outdated and burdensome rules that have been holding back our wine sector.
“The reforms we’re introducing tomorrow will help our wine producers and traders become more profitable, dynamic, and sustainable – while freeing them from pointless red tape.
“Looking ahead to 2024, I’m committed to this government continuing to support our world-class winemakers, vineyards and traders to grow and innovate.”
Commenting on the changes, WineGB CEO Nicola Bates said: “We welcome the additional choice that comes from this first phase of actions from the wine reform consultation. There will be producers who are keen to take advantage of all and every option to reduce materials on bottles, so we can expect to see fewer foils on sparkling allowing you to celebrate that bit faster, and with an environmental benefit.
“We look forward to working with Government and the Defra team on future consultations, and am sure they will be as constructive as those now being implemented.”
The government also recently announced that businesses will be able to sell prepacked still and sparkling wine in 500ml and 200ml sizes as well as a new 568ml ‘pint’ quantity.
Now boasting almost 900 vineyards, hectares under vine in the UK have more than quadrupled since 2000. Viticulture – the cultivation and harvesting of grapes – is now Britain’s fastest-growing agricultural sector, employing around 2,300 people full time with a predicted 50% growth in jobs by 2025.