Scrapping of retained EU red tape to boost wine industry by £180m - Fruit & Vine

Scrapping of retained EU red tape to boost wine industry by £180m

Wine producers and importers will be freed from unnecessary red tape thanks to proposed changes to retained EU laws on the production and marketing of wine, generating an estimated £180m boost to the UK wine industry, alongside opening the market to new products and growing the economy.

The changes will allow winemakers 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 winemakers will also be free to show a variety and vintage of any wine under the new Wine Certification Scheme, without having to go through laborious, previously EU-mandated applications processes.

Further reforms will include:

  • Importer labelling – Remove a requirement that imported wines must show an importer rather than a Food Business Operator on the label. This will reduce costs and bureaucracy for consumers.
  • Piquette – Allow producers to make and market piquette from their wine production by-products. This will open up new income streams for wine producers.
  • Blending wine – Allow imported wine to be blended in market. This will boost our domestic industries by enabling the production of new product lines.
  • Transformation of wine sector products – Allow imported wine sector to be carbonated, sweetened, de-alcoholised in market. This will enable our industry to create more product lines for the UK market/tastes and give consumers more choice.
  • Low and No alcohol wine – Permit the production and marketing of low and no alcohol wines. Given the growing popularity of low and no alcohol wine, this will mean more flexibility for domestic producers and greater choice for consumers.

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.

Food and Drink Secretary 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.”

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.

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

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, commented: “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 GB to be able to blend, will 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.”

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