WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said environment secretary Liz Truss responded positively to the organisation’s push to support English wine at a recent round table event, and that this was a good starting point for gaining traction for overall support for the wine industry.
“Liz Truss confirmed she lobbied the chancellor on better tax treatment for English wine but she had not had enough time to make her case in advance of the 2016 Budget,” Beale told OLN.
“She is very keen to support English wine because it is a fantastic example of successful modern agriculture. She understands the potential – including that of farming the land for English wine as well as the tourism that goes with it. That’s why she has agreed to a second English wine roundtable later this year.”
He also said that getting this message across for English wine – and particularly the popularity of English sparkling wine, which currently represents two-thirds of the market – looks to be the best way to gain more support for the wine industry in general.
At the round table event it was noted that the English wine sector had seen significant growth over the past few years and production is set to double by 2020.
Beale said: “It’s extremely rapid growth for any industry and this is something to shout loudly about.”
Separately the WSTA has also been working to demonstrate that the UK is the destination of choice for big global producers.
“Accolade Wines’ facility in Bristol is the biggest bottling and packaging plant in Europe,” said Beale.
“It produces 1,200 bottles of wine every minute and sets a standard for the wine industry globally – including environmentally. It supports 500 on-site jobs with more in the supply chain. It is a good example of world-class modern manufacturing based in the south west.
“The UK is one of the centres of the international wine industry – a fact that is still very poorly recognised in 2016.
“The WSTA will continue to help the government and MPs to recognise the economic significance of the UK wine trade, as well as this pivotal place in the global wine industry – where it is the destination of choice inside the EU.
“The UK tax environment should be supporting this position, not undermining it.”