Joel Peterson, founder of Ravenswood Winery, told OLN: “I’m frightened there won’t be a future because there is this push to change the drinking habits of Great Britain.
“The continuing rising taxation will eventually price wine out of the market, and I don’t think wine was really the problem. You punish the beverage of temperance at the same time as you punish the beverage of excess.”
Peterson said other Californian wineries are turning away from the UK. “There is an unwillingness to invest and do more business, because it doesn’t appear there is a future in it.”
But he said that, overall, he is “cautiously optimistic” about the market at the moment, and that Majestic and Tesco have reasonable selections of Californian wine.
John McLaren, UK director of the Wine Institute of California, said the UK market is losing interest for wineries around the world, not just California.
“The future of selling through multiple grocers, unless they change their ways, is limited to the largest wineries in the world. All the other wineries are fighting over whether they can sell to independents and restaurants.
“I hope that wineries don’t have to turn away from the UK, but I fear they will.”
McLaren added: “A lot of Californians, when I try to get hold of them, always seem to be in China. They are looking for new markets and we shouldn’t be complacent about how marvellous and important the UK market is, because it is less so than it used to be.
“This is a wine market problem, not a California problem.”