Welsh 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, providing a £180m boost to the UK wine industry, opening the market to new products, and growing the economy.
Welsh wines have been slowly gaining recognition for their quality, both within the UK and internationally. The climatic conditions in Wales – cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers – are suitable for growing certain grape varieties, especially those used to produce sparkling wines and white wines.
The changes will allow wine makers 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 wine makers will also be free to show a variety and vintage of any wine without having to go through laborious, previously EU-mandated applications processes.
The package of reforms follows engagement with the sector and are made possible by powers under the Retained EU Law Bill which are being used to remove any constraints from our economy whilst ensuring our high standards are not compromised.
Food and Drink Secretary Therese 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.
These reforms will put a rocket under our wine makers’ businesses – growing the economy, creating jobs and supporting a vital part of our food and drink sector.”
Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said:
“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, said:
“We welcome the range of measures proposed, many of which we have proposed publicly. By introducing greater flexibility, wine producers and importers won't be forced to do anything differently, but we 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.”
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.