Wholesalers Are Stockpiling Wine in Fears that Brexit Will Spike Wine Prices

Drowning our sorrows in reasonably-priced French wine might become a thing of the past. Great!

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11 January 2019, 5:15pm

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If Britain leaves the EU with a no deal, our culinary future looks bleak. With lorries subject to extra border checks at Calais, delays on European produce deliveries is highly likely. We'll have to rely on locally grown British produce, especially during the winter months, which means lots of turnips and cabbage, until those two weeks when we get enough sunshine to grow eight tomatoes, and like, one pepper.

But at least we can drown our sorrows in a nice, reasonably priced French wine from the supermarket to accompany our 30th meal of cabbage soup, right? Not quite. According to industry website The Drinks Business, British wine wholesalers are stockpiling European wines amid fears that leaving the EU with no tariff deal will drastically increase prices.

In a blog published on the Wine and Spirits Association (WSA) website today, the organisation urged the government to secure a deal before leaving the EU, in order to safeguard wine prices. It also recommended that members increase their wine stocks by 20 percent in case of a no-deal Brexit, in order to reduce the strain it could place on the supply chain.

“If the UK ends up with a no deal Brexit then wine businesses will have to cope with additional tariffs as well as another duty rise,” the WSTA blog post read, “which is highly likely to end up full square in the consumer’s lap, bumping up wine prices to an all-time high.”

“In the event of a no deal Brexit, the WSTA belies that a temporary suspension on all wine tariffs for six to 12 months would massively reduce the strain on the supply chain that a no deal Brexit will inevitably bring about,” it also read.

Wholesalers Direct Wines are among the numerous companies to have begun stockpiling alcohol. The company is set to buy 2 million more bottles of European wine than its annual stock, while Majestic Wine has bought 1.5 million additional bottles.

While pub chain Wetherspoons recently removed European wine and spirits from its range (including all Champagne), the likelihood that the entire British population will happily switch to British wines in the case of a no-deal seems optimistic, if not unlikely.

Excuse me while I drink as many European wines as humanly possible before March.