English wine tasting delivers MPs a message in a bottle – more support for our world class wine
The Wine and Spirit Trade Association laid on 12 of the best English wines at a tasting to teach MPs why the growing industry needs their support.
Award winning wine makers were invited by the WSTA and the All Parliamentary Group (APPG) for wine and spirits to showcase their top tipples at the English wine masterclass in Parliament on Monday.
This included sparkling wine from the latest vineyard to join the WSTA – Exton Park in Hampshire.
One of the world’s leading wine experts and Daily Mail wine columnist, Matthew Jukes, hosted the tutored wine tasting.
The message delivered to the politicians as they sampled the south of England’s finest blends was clear – cut wine duty and help English wine blossom.
Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said:
"It was fantastic to have this opportunity to educate politicians on the successes of English wine and also share the importance of the wider UK wine industry to Britain’s economy and jobs.
It is important that politicians see first-hand the breadth and value of the industry to the UK and get them to understand the positive impact a 2% duty cut can have for our businesses, consumers and – perhaps surprisingly - the Treasury.
Next month will mark the anniversary of the first English wine roundtable organised by the WSTA and Defra. We would like to see government follow up on the support offered to the industry at this meeting and for Defra to fix a date for the promised roundtable part two."
The success of English wine has seen the sector grow, both in the number of vineyards and area under vine. The UK has an impressive 502 vineyards, including 133 wineries and 180 vineyards open to the public.
In the last ten years the area of planted vines in the UK has more than doubled and is set to grow by a further 50% by 2020.
This has not only boosted the rural economy in terms of jobs created directly through vineyard management and winemaking, but has also brought about a significant boost to rural tourism.
Last year M&S increased their English wine range from 20 to 37 and have seen a 100% increase in sales of English wine.
Elizabeth Kelly, M&S English Wine Buyer, said:
“It’s a really exciting time for English wine as the quality continues to go from strength to strength. We’re delighted to now offer a total of 37 English wines from up and down the country, and our customer’s appetite for English wine shows no sign of slowing down, with sales up 100% on last year. Our English fizz in particular has proved popular, with the Marksman Rose from Ridgeview up 200%. It’s really promising to see customers embracing the style and enjoying English wine so much.”
In the six weeks running up to Christmas for every 10 bottles of Champagne sold, Waitrose sold 1 bottle of English sparkling wine – which the supermarket said “surpassed all expectations”.
With higher inflation, the impact of the devaluation of the pound and the potential for duty increases, the wine industry faces a potential triple whammy that will be devastating for the trade in 2017.
It came as a surprise to many of the MPs attending the tasting that Britain is central to the world wine trade, with English wine accounting for just 1% of the domestic market.
The UK is the 2nd largest trader of wine by volume (behind Germany) and by value (behind USA), which combined makes it the number one wine trading nation.
Britain’s wine industry directly employs 172,000 people and further 105,000 through its supply chain, generates £19.9bn in economic activity and contributes over £9.5bn to the Exchequer.
The WSTA recently published new economic modelling showing that a 2% cut would boost the wine and spirits industry economic contribution by £2.9bn and also increase Treasury revenues by £368m.
Tim Loughton, Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham and Chair of the APPG for wine and spirits, said:
“English wine is growing in terms of production and in its reputation. In 2015 the Chancellor’s 2% cut on spirits and a freeze on wine provided a huge boost to business.
I hope he will take the WSTA’s Budget Submission into serious consideration and go even further this year by cutting duty 2% across the board, supporting the flourishing English Wine industry, which is set to double its production to around 12 million bottles by 2020.”
Andy Slaughter, Labour MP for Hammersmith and Shadow Justice Minister, said:
“The Government should be doing everything it can to support this growing industry to generate even more jobs and exports – we would all raise a glass to that.”
The WSTA is calling for the Government to:
• Rebalance the wine duty regime and be fairer on English wine producers
• Support the industry to ensure continued investment and growth
• Commit to holding the next English wine roundtable in 2017
• Commit to not restricting the planting of vineyards
• Commit to a sensible approach to planning
• Commit to serve English Wine (and British spirits) at UK overseas missions
• Ensure access to the same pesticides as its European counterparts
To find out more about the WSTA 2017 Budget Submission click go to: http://bit.ly/2017Budgetsub
Photos of the event are available please contact Lucy or Harriet.
Notes to editors
The English wines being sampled by MPs included:
1. 2013 Bolney Estate Blanc de Blancs
2. 2012 Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs
3. NV Exton Park Blanc de Noirs
4. 2011 Chapel Down Three Graces
5. 2010 Furleigh Estate Classic Reserve
6. NV Hambledon Premiere Cuvée
7. 2013 Hattingley Valley Classic Cuvée
8. MV Nyetimber Classic Cuvée
9. 2014 Ridgeview Bloomsbury
10. 2013 Hush Heath Balfour Brut Rosé
11. 2015 Plumpton Estate Bacchus
12. 2015 Cradle Valley Hobbs Hawth
The WSTA is the UK organisation for the wine and spirit industry, representing over 300 companies producing, importing, transporting and selling wine and spirits. The WSTA works with its members to promote responsible production, marketing and sale of alcohol.
For more information please contact:
Lucy Panton - [email protected]
Tel: +44 (0) 207 0893875
Mobile: + 44 (0) 7776422656
Harriet Talbot – [email protected]
Tel +44 (0) 207 0893875
Mobile +44 (0) 7587290720