Wine drinkers have already paid £5.9 billion more in duty than beer drinkers since 2010 – meanwhile beer, favoured mostly by men, will be unaffected

28 January 2022: New proposals drawn up by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, on changes to alcohol duty are set to hit women hardest, with tax on their favourite tipple set to rise by an average of 38p per bottle[1]

Already in the last ten years tax on wine, the most popular alcoholic drink among women in the UK, has risen more than twice as fast as tax on beer which is preferred by men. The proposed tax increase is on top of inflationary price rises already set to hit consumers this year, plus the cost of living crisis, which is squeezing household budgets further. 

Since 2010, it is estimated wine drinkers have paid £5.9 billion more in duty than beer drinkers, with women almost twice as likely to choose wine than men (58% versus 31%). 

Now the Chancellor is planning to slap even higher duties on wines over 11.5% ABV following his Alcohol Duty Review. This means around 80% of all still wines that are enjoyed in the UK are getting more expensive, whilst taxes on all the best-selling beer will stay as they are, or even go down in some instances. 

Research carried out by Wine Drinkers UK, a collection of leading wine lovers, makers, and sellers reveals 43% of women drinkers list wine as their favourite alcoholic drink with only 7% listing beer[2]. For men the order is reversed with 44% of drinkers listing beer as their favourite drink compared to 21% who said wine.  

Broadcaster and Wine Drinkers UK supporter, Helena Nicklin, comments: “Wine is the UK’s most popular alcoholic drink but the Chancellor’s proposed changes to the alcohol duty regime will drive up the price of wine and potentially limit consumer choice. At the same time, duty on beer will stay the same. 

“This is a double whammy for women who are more likely to choose to wind down with a glass of wine than a pint of beer. It is especially unfair at a time when so many ordinary people are struggling to cope with the cost of living. 

“Why should women see the cost of their favourite tipple go up in price when men see theirs stay the same?” 

Wine has had a raw deal for many years, with faster and higher tax increases than any other alcohol drink. Wine Drinkers UK are calling on the Government to rectify this rather than continue to punish wine drinkers.

Alcohol tax rises under Chancellor’s proposal:

About Wine Drinkers UK

Wine Drinkers UK is a collection of wine lovers, makers and sellers, fed up with being unfairly taxed. The Cut Back Wine Tax campaign was launched to get a fairer deal for wine drinkers across the country. Wine is woven into our social fabric, with almost a third (32%) of Brits saying it’s their preferred alcoholic drink. The UK’s wine drinkers deserve the Government’s support, not punitive treatment.  

Our supporters include wine producers, bottlers, retailers, and enthusiasts, as well as representatives from the UK’s hospitality sector

You can see a list of our supporters here: www.winedrinkersuk.co.uk


[1] Based on projected price increases of top five bestselling red wines and white wines (January 2022)

[2] Poll of 2,191 adults by YouGov, on behalf of Wine Drinkers UK

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s reform of alcohol duty will penalise popular red wines from Down Under

21 January 2022: Wine Drinkers UK, a collection of leading wine lovers, makers and sellers today joins forces with its Antipodean partners, calling on the Government to reverse a flaw in its alcohol duty reform that will make New World wines more expensive to buy, reversing a potential benefit of a trade deal with Australia. The heat is on Liz Truss as she tries to cement security and trade ties Australia, with the Foreign Secretary having already been grilled by the Australian media over proposed increased in wine duty, an experience likely to be replicated in her engagement with politicians there.

It’s a far cry from when Chancellor Rishi Sunak boasted of ‘taking advantage of leaving the EU’ when he announced the biggest reform of alcohol duties for more than 150 years in his October budget statement, and the Department of International Trade has promised big savings on Australian wine imports. But under current Treasury proposals duty is set to increase on wine with alcohol content above 11.5%, which means wine from hotter countries like Australia will be taxed more because their grapes naturally produce more alcoholic wine, cancelling out the benefits of the free trade agreement.

A spokesperson from Treasury Wine Estates comments:

“The proposed new Alcohol Duty system in the UK will significantly impact the Australian wine industry and increase costs for UK consumers. We understand it will wipe out the £26 million benefit for Australian wine growers agreed upon in the recent UK/Australia Free Trade Agreement, replacing it with £70 million of costs and diminish future growth prospects in the largest export market for Australian wine growers and UK consumers. The new duty could add up to 40 pence to a bottle of Australian wine for UK customers.”

Tony Battaglene, chief executive of industry lobby group Australian Grape and Wine, has said he agrees that tax was a domestic matter. “But it is unfortunate that the result of the free trade agreement will be directly impacted by this (tax). We are hoping they will look at it and come to a better solution. At the moment, it is very concerning.

“This will discriminate against red wine imports. We estimate it will add 40p to the price of a bottle, and that’s a lot when you’re talking about a wine that is £5.”

As the Government looks to further its Global Britain agenda with international trade deals, the so-called ‘Sunshine Tax’ will hit not just Australian wines but some of Britain’s favourite imports from, New Zealand (Sauvignon Blanc), South Africa (Pinotage), the United States (Cabernet Sauvignon) and Argentina (Malbec) because they tend to have a higher ABV per bottle.

As the consultation on the Treasury’s five-point plan continues, which is due to take effect in 2023, Wine Drinkers UK is calling for fairer treatment of wine in the proposals.

Wine is the UK’s favourite alcoholic drink but tax rises on wine have far outstripped those on other alcoholic drinks and twice as fast as that on beer. The last cut in duty on wine was in 1984 when Nigel Lawson was Chancellor under Margaret Thatcher.

About Wine Drinkers UK

Wine Drinkers UK is a collection of wine lovers, makers and sellers, fed up with being unfairly taxed. The Cut Back Wine Tax campaign was launched to get a fairer deal for wine drinkers across the country. Wine is woven into our social fabric, with almost a third (32%) of Brits saying it’s their preferred alcoholic drink. The UK’s wine drinkers deserve the Government’s support, not punitive treatment.  

Our supporters include wine producers, bottlers, retailers, and enthusiasts, as well as representatives from the UK’s hospitality sector

You can see a list of our supporters here: www.winedrinkersuk.co.uk


Women hit hardest by RPI duty rise of 13p on a bottle of still wine and 17p on a bottle of sparkling because the vast majority choose wine over beer

20 October 2021 – Wine Drinkers UK, a collection of leading wine lovers, makers and sellers is calling on the Chancellor Rishi Sunak not to increase duty at next week’s Budget and to commit to rebalancing duty on all wines in order to eradicate gender bias. The group is drawing attention to the unfairness that means women pay more tax and VAT because they chose wine over beer.

Inflation means wine drinkers are already facing a serious hike in the price of their favourite tipple. To make matters worse the Office of National Statistics data published today reveals that the impact of Government plans to increase wine duty by RPI (4.9%) would increase prices even further adding an extra 13p to a bottle of still wine and 17p to a bottle of sparkling.

New research from Wine Drinkers UK found wine drinkers pay an average 13% more duty and VAT on a night out than beer drinkers. The disparity reveals a gender bias in the tax system because women are twice as likely to drink wine or sparkling wines in pubs, bars and restaurants than men.

The new research, conducted by the group, examined the drinks receipts from bar bills in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow following a night out. Each receipt included a round of drinks for five people made up of beer and wine respectively.

Across the regions, the average price of a round of five beers was £22.88 while the average for a round of five wines totalled £26.53. The Duty plus VAT for beer accounted for an average £6.20 while wine was subject to an average £7.02 for Duty and VAT, 13% higher.

This disparity is far more likely to affect women. A YouGov survey for Wine Drinkers UK, found a significant 43% of women listed wine[1] as their favourite alcoholic drink with only 7% choosing beer[2]. Among men, only 21% selected wine as their favourite alcoholic drink with beer coming out on top at 44%.

Helena Nicklin, wine writer, broadcaster and Wine Drinkers UK supporter: For too long, wine drinkers have missed out when the tax breaks have gone to beer.

“This leads to an unfair gender bias in tax because, according to official statistics, women are far more likely to choose wine when they are in a pub, bar or restaurant. It’s about time we saw wine duty reduced and an end to the gender bias in the system.”

Nusrat Ghani, Conservative MP for Wealden and who has wine producers in her constituency, said: “Far too often women bear the brunt of increased living costs, whether it’s household bills or childcare provision. That should not extend to a night out too, or a night at home with the family.

“Women are far more likely to drink wine than beer when they are out with friends, they should not be expected to pay on average 13% more in tax for a round of drinks.

“And, with tax on wine having increased by 39% since 2010, compared with 16% for beer, women are also penalised on a night in. It’s just not on!”

Wine is the UK’s favourite alcoholic drink, but tax rises on wine have far outstripped those on other alcoholic drinks and twice as fast as that on beer. The last cut in duty on wine was in 1984 when Nigel Lawson was Chancellor under Margaret Thatcher.

Ahead of the Budget next week, Wine Drinkers UK is calling on the Chancellor not to increase wine Duty and to commit to ending the current unfairness in the tax regime by ensuring that wine is treated equally to other alcoholic beverages when it comes to Duty and VAT.

For more information please contact wduk@mhpc.com

About Wine Drinkers UK

Wine Drinkers UK is a collection of wine lovers, makers and sellers, fed up with being unfairly taxed. The Cut Back Wine Tax campaign was launched to get a fairer deal for wine drinkers across the country. Wine is woven into our social fabric, with almost a third (32%) of Brits saying it’s their preferred alcoholic drink. The UK’s wine drinkers deserve the Government’s support, not punitive treatment.  

Our supporters include wine producers, bottlers, retailers, and enthusiasts, as well as representatives from the UK’s hospitality sector

You can see a list of our supporters here: www.winedrinkersuk.co.uk

Methodology

Fieldwork was undertaken by YouGov. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2191 adults, of which 1,815 drink alcohol. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th – 6th January 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).


A combination of climate change, labour shortages and increased shipping costs is threatening Britain’s wine supplies, with prices rises likely to follow. In response, Wine Drinkers UK (WDUK) is calling on the Government to commit to freezing wine duty at the upcoming Budget, in a show of support for industry and wine drinkers who are facing price hikes on their favourite drink this winter. 

Wine writer, broadcaster and WDUK supporter, Helena Nicklin said: “Around 99% of the wine we consume in the UK is imported so the UK’s wine drinkers are going to feel the impact of this perfect storm hitting the sector. Currently more than 50% of the price of a shop-bought bottle of wine goes straight into the Treasury’s pocket. It is time we see a show of support in the upcoming Budget for this industry that generates £11 billion annually for the UK economy in sales alone.” 

With French, Italian and English wines hit by extreme weather and failed yields, Californian wines affected by wildfires and New Zealand feeling the impact of its closed borders with a shortage of harvest labourers, it is a challenging time for the industry. 

The global picture:  

  • The Champagne harvest is down 60%[1]
  • In New Zealand, regions throughout the middle of the country – including Wairarapa, Marlborough, Nelson, and North Canterbury – yields are down over 20% on 2020[2]
  • Frosts and poor weather in France is expected to result in a 29% drop in the production of French wine[3]
  • Harvest yield in Italy is to fall by 9%, with extreme summer drought and wildfires taking their toll on Italian wine producers[4]
  • California crushed 3.404 million tons of grapes in 2020, down 13% year-on-year due to multiple factors including the devastating wildfires[5]

David Gates, CEO of Direct Wines, said: “Reliable weather is of course fundamental to winemaking, and we’re very concerned by what we’ve been hearing from our network of 427, mostly family, wineries around the world. Following the struggles of Covid-19, a string of very challenging harvests across multiple regions is proving incredibly tough for many.”

Chris Stroud, Market Manager Europe, New Zealand Winegrowers, adds: “New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is one of Britain’s favourite wines but there’s a very real possibility that consumers will find it harder to get their hands on it this winter. The strong demand coupled with a significant shortfall in vintage, as the combination of labour shortages and increased shipping costs hits supplies, means that there will be tough decisions to make to meet the demands of trade customers, retailers and consumers. 

“Wines from vintage 2021 promise to be something special, but the question may just be whether there is enough to go around.”

Wine [6] is the UK’s favourite alcoholic drink but tax rises on wine have far outstripped those on other alcoholic drinks and twice as fast as that on beer. The last cut in duty on wine was in 1984 when Nigel Lawson was Chancellor under Margaret Thatcher


Contact

For more information please contact wduk@mhpc.com

About Wine Drinkers UK

Wine Drinkers UK is a collection of wine lovers, makers and sellers, fed up with being unfairly taxed. The Cut Back Wine Tax campaign was launched to get a fairer deal for wine drinkers across the country. Wine is woven into our social fabric, with almost a third (32%) of Brits saying it’s their preferred alcoholic drink. The UK’s wine drinkers deserve the Government’s support, not punitive treatment.  

Our supporters include wine producers, bottlers, retailers, and enthusiasts, as well as representatives from the UK’s hospitality sector

You can see a list of our supporters here: www.winedrinkersuk.co.uk

Methodology

Fieldwork was undertaken by YouGov. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2191 adults, of which 1,815 drink alcohol. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th – 6th January 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).


[1] Data from The Drinks Business

[2] Data from New Zealand Winegrowers

[3] Data from France’s agriculture ministry

[4] Data from Assoenologi, Unione Italiana Vini, and the ISMEA agricultural institute

[5] Data from The 2020 Preliminary Winegrape Crush Report for California

[6]   Wine includes red and white wine, rosé and sparkling wines. Beer includes lager, real ale/bitter and craft ales   Spirits include vodka, whisky/whiskey, rum and gin

Trade Secretary Liz Truss considering 25% tariff on all US wine imports

28 July 2021 – Millions of bottles of Britain’s most popular wines could disappear from supermarket shelves and pubs after the Government proposed a 25% tariff on all wine imports from the United States. 

Wine from the US make up around one in ten[1] bottles sold in the UK market, including best-selling rosés, with more than 100 million bottles sold in supermarkets and off licences last year.

Trade Secretary Liz Truss is considering introducing a 25% tariff on US wine imports as part of an ongoing trade conflict caused by Donald Trump imposing a 25% tariff on US steel imports in 2018. The UK Government believes tariffs on wine will put pressure on key Democratic politicians, such as Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who have wine producers in their states. 

However, Wine Drinkers UK (WDUK) a collection of wine lovers, makers and sellers, has warned some of Britain’s most popular grapes, including Zinfandel Rosé and Grenache Rosé, could disappear if tariffs are imposed. With around 32% of UK households purchasing wine from the US, no other wine producing nation could substitute its volume, limiting consumer choice. The under 44s make up 40% of those that enjoy wines from the United States, meaning that a tariff would disproportionately impact younger UK wine consumers.

WDUK supporter Ed Baker, Managing Director of one of the UK’s largest bottling plants, Kingsland Drinks, warns: “It is likely if the Government introduces this tariff, it will make these popular US wines unfeasible in the UK. Simply put, they will disappear from supermarket shelves and pubs.”

A YouGov survey conducted for WDUK found that one in three (32%) of UK adults who drink alcohol say wine[2] is their favourite alcoholic drink, beating beer[3] (25%) and spirits[4] (25%) into second and third place respectively. However, since 2010, duty on wine has increased significantly more (+39%) than on beer (+16%), cider (+27%) and spirits (+27%).

Ed Baker adds: “Wine drinkers are already disproportionally disadvantaged compared to some of their alcoholic counterparts when it comes to custom tariffs. Adding a 25% tariff on US wines will continue to unfairly penalise these consumers. It is time that the Government ensures that wine is treated fairly when it comes to tax.”

Contact

For more information please contact wduk@mhpc.com

About Wine Drinkers UK

Wine Drinkers UK is a collection of wine lovers, makers and sellers, fed up with being unfairly taxed. The Cut Back Wine Tax campaign was launched to get a fairer deal for wine drinkers across the country. Wine is woven into our social fabric, with almost a third (32%) of Brits saying it’s their preferred alcoholic drink. The UK’s wine drinkers deserve the Government’s support, not punitive treatment.  

Our supporters include wine producers, bottlers, retailers, and enthusiasts, as well as representatives from the UK’s hospitality sector

You can see a list of our supporters here: www.winedrinkersuk.co.uk

Methodology

Fieldwork was undertaken by YouGov. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2191 adults, of which 1,815 drink alcohol. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th – 6th January 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).


[1] WSTA submission to HMT 2021

[2] Wine includes red and white wine, rosé and sparkling wines

[3] Beer includes lager, real ale/bitter and craft ales

[4] Spirits include vodka, whisky/whiskey, rum and gin

24 June 2021 – English Wines Week is an opportunity to celebrate local vineyards, suppliers and bottlers across the nation. But with English sparkling wines subject to 30% higher tax than still wines, The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has added its voice of support to the industry that’s on the receiving end of an unfair tax system that is crippling the sector.

With sparkling comprising 70% of all English and Welsh wines, the UK duty on sparkling wine disproportionally disadvantages homegrown wine, making it the most highly taxed product per unit. Removing the sparkling supertax could help boost the UK economy at a time when producers, suppliers and consumers nationwide are building back from the pandemic.  

John O’Connell of TaxPayers’ Alliance comments: “Hospitality and leisure have been battered by the pandemic and English Wine Week is a perfect time to remind politicians that these industries need a helping hand, not least by simplifying the system to prevent punishing higher rates slapped on products like sparkling wine.

“What’s more, TPA research shows that if the temporary VAT reduction to 5 per cent was extended beyond September to April 2023, it could save the UK hospitality sector and consumers £15.7 billion. That’s why the government should keep the tax cut in place, and include alcoholic drinks within its scope, to give British businesses and drinkers a break.” 

Wine Drinkers UK, which is also backing the TPA’s call for a VAT extension, is leading the campaign to make the UK duties system fairer. It represents wine lovers, makers and sellers across England and Wales, including Sussex-based sparkling wine producer, Rathfinny Estate, which is a major employer in the area. 

Mark Driver, co-owner of Rathfinny Estate, says: “It’s astonishing that we pay 30% higher excise duty on sparkling wine. Scrapping this sparkling surcharge would not only give UK producers like us a much-needed boost but it would also directly benefit wine drinkers who enjoy a glass of home-grown fizz.

“I would love sparkling wine to receive more support from the UK Government so that we can compete effectively with our European counterparts, some of whom benefit from zero-duty rate on their sparkling wines.”

For more information visit www.winedrinkersuk.co.uk

Contact

For more information please contact wduk@mhpc.com

About Wine Drinkers UK

Wine Drinkers UK is a collection of wine lovers, makers and sellers, fed up with being unfairly taxed. The Cut Back Wine Tax campaign was launched to get a fairer deal for wine drinkers across the country. Wine is woven into our social fabric, with almost a third (32%) of Brits saying it’s their preferred alcoholic drink. The UK’s wine drinkers deserve the Government’s support, not punitive treatment. 

Our supporters include wine producers, bottlers, retailers, and enthusiasts, as well as representatives from the UK’s hospitality sector

You can see a list of our supporters here: www.winedrinkersuk.co.uk

Television celebrity Kate Thornton ‘baffled’ by bias against women in tax policy

25 February 2021 – Television celebrity Kate Thornton has joined a call for the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to stop penalising women for preferring wine over beer. In the last ten years tax on wine, the most popular alcoholic drink among women in the UK, has risen more than twice as fast as tax on beer which is preferred by men. Since 2010, it is estimated wine drinkers paid £4.6 billion more in duty than beer drinkers.

A YouGov survey for Wine Drinkers UK, a collection of leading wine lovers, makers and sellers found 43% of women drinkers listed wine as their favourite alcoholic drink with only 7% listing beer. For men the order is reversed with 44% of drinkers listed beer as their favourite drink compared to 21% who said wine.  

Women are also more likely to order wine in a restaurant with 58% of women who drink alcohol saying they are most likely to order wine or sparkling wine. In comparison 47% of men who drink alcohol said they would order beer in a restaurant.

Duty on wine has increased by 39% since 2010 compared to a rise of just 16% for beer. Following these increases, more duty is paid on a typical serving of wine than any other alcoholic drink, with duty making up 52p of an average 175ml glass of wine, compared to 43p for a pint of beer.  As well as duty, alcoholic drinks are also subject to standard VAT of an additional 20%.

Television presenter Kate Thornton, who also hosts the White Wine Question Time podcast says: “Surely wine should be treated the same way as beer and spirits when it comes to tax? I’m baffled as to why it is singled out as an outlier that is open to higher taxes. And when you consider that women are more likely to drink wine than men and increase in duty will hit women the hardest.”

Wine writer and broadcaster, Helena Nicklin says: “Politicians have repeatedly fallen into the trap of cutting beer duty to score points with the average ‘working man’, which is unfair. Wine duty has doubled since 2000 and there hasn’t been a cut since 1984. The unavoidable fact is that women are more likely to drink wine and if the Chancellor Rishi Sunak increases wine duty it will unfairly impact women more than men.”

The YouGov survey of more than 1,800 respondents across the UK found one in three (32%) of UK adults who drink alcohol say wine[1] is their favourite alcoholic drink, beating beer[2] (25%) and spirits[3] (25%) into second and third place respectively. However, only 4% of people surveyed correctly guessed the level of tax on a £5 bottle of wine is 61% (83p on VAT and £2.23 on Duty).

The last cut in duty on wine was in 1984 when Nigel Lawson was Chancellor under Margaret Thatcher.

Wine Drinkers UK is calling on the Chancellor to cut excise duty on wine and to extend the temporary hospitality VAT cut introduced last year to March 2022, and to broaden it to include sales of alcoholic drinks in next week’s March 2021 Budget.

Contact

For more information please contact wduk@mhpc.com

About Wine Drinkers UK

Wine Drinkers UK is a collection of wine lovers, makers and sellers, fed up with being unfairly taxed. The Cut Back Wine Tax campaign was launched to get a fairer deal for wine drinkers across the country. Wine is woven into our social fabric, with almost a third (32%) of Brits saying it’s their preferred alcoholic drink. The UK’s wine drinkers deserve the Government’s support, not punitive treatment. 

Our supporters include wine producers, bottlers, retailers, and enthusiasts, as well as representatives from the UK’s hospitality sector

You can see a list of our supporters here: www.winedrinkersuk.co.uk

Methodology

Fieldwork was undertaken by YouGov. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2191 adults, of which 1,815 drink alcohol. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th – 6th January 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).


[1]Wine includes red and white wine, rose and sparkling wines
[2]Beer includes lager, real ale/bitter and craft ales
[3]Spirits include vodka, whisky/whiskey, rum and gin

Almost half (44%) of people will order wine when they next visit a restaurant.

18 February 2021 – Pub and restaurant owners, the wine sector and politicians have united to call on the Chancellor to cut excise duty on wine, extend the temporary hospitality VAT cut introduced last year to March 2022, and to broaden it to include sales of alcoholic drinks in the upcoming March Budget.

With most pubs now serving food, wine sales are critical to the survival of the whole hospitality sector. New research from Wine Drinkers UK (WDUK) reveals that of those who drink alcohol, more than two in five (44%) say they would be most likely to order wine with their meal in a restaurant, beer is second (28%) and spirits such as gin come next at 16%. Women are almost twice as likely to choose wine than men (58% versus 31%). The same research also found a third (32%) of UK adults who drink alcohol say wine is their favourite alcoholic drink.

WDUK says the government must reduce the tax burden on wine businesses, support the hospitality sector and comprehensively reform the UK’s alcohol taxation regime in the medium term to make it simpler and fairer to wine and more attractive for business investment.

Wine critic Jancis Robinson OBE MW says: “Successive governments continue to act as though wine is still the elitist drink it was 60 years ago, they fail to realise that it is the drink of choice for the majority of the electorate.”

Wine businesses in particular – the majority of which are SMEs – need additional support, for example by encouraging consumer demand to return as the economy – including hospitality and the high street – reopens.

Annie Hartnell, Pub Owner of The Piltdown Man pub in Uckfield, East Sussex says:”The level of duty on wine is crazy. It limits what the hospitality sector can do and our ability to source from local wine makers. By the time we have added our own very modest profit margins, it becomes very expensive to the consumer. We could do so much more with lower levels of duty, especially after the pandemic, when we will effectively have to start again.”

Jonathan Chierchia, co-owner of Italian restaurant Frizzante Proseccharia says: “An increase in wine duty would be detrimental to pubs, bars and restaurants and the customers they serve. Small hospitality businesses such as mine possess less purchasing power than their larger counterparts. A hike in tax would be a further blow to businesses already fighting to survive.”

Tax rises on wine1 (39%) in the last decade has far outstripped those on beer (16%) and spirits (27%) although this isn’t commonly known or acknowledged among people who drink the good stuff. In fact, only 4% of all respondents surveyed correctly guessed the level of tax on a £5 bottle of wine is 61% (83p on VAT and £2.23 on Duty).

The campaign is gathering support across the industry ahead of the Budget on March 3.

Andrea Jenkyns, Conservative MP for Morley and Outwood in Yorkshire says: “I have seen how pubs and restaurants have been severely affected in my own constituency due to COVID-19 restrictions. The hospitality sector really needs all the support it can get if it is to emerge from the economic impact of lockdown.

“I would like to see measures brought in to help the industry, such as should lowering duty on wine to ease the financial burden on pubs and restaurants, and make it more attractive for people to come out and socialise again.”

ENDS

Contact

For more information please contact wduk@mhpc.com

About Wine Drinkers UK

Wine Drinkers UK is a collection of wine lovers, makers and sellers, fed up with being unfairly taxed. The Cut Back Wine Tax campaign was launched to get a fairer deal for wine drinkers across the country. Wine is woven into our social fabric, with almost a third (32%) of Brits saying it’s their preferred alcoholic drink. The UK’s wine drinkers deserve the Government’s support, not punitive treatment. 

Our supporters include wine producers, bottlers, retailers, and enthusiasts, as well as representatives from the UK’s hospitality sector

You can see a list of our supporters here: www.winedrinkersuk.co.uk

Methodology

Fieldwork was undertaken by YouGov. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2191 adults, of which 1,514 drink wine. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th – 6th January 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

Dear Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak,

The UK’s wine sector, and the hospitality businesses it supports, needs the Government’s help

‘Wine Drinkers UK’ is a campaign group made up of wine makers, sellers and drinkers, who are tired of being unfairly taxed. Wine is the UK’s favourite drink, but wine drinkers have long been singled out for harsher treatment than other categories of alcoholic drink in the UK. While beer and spirits have seen successive duty freezes, wine duty has continued to rise.

The UK’s wine sector – comprised largely of SMEs – has significant growth potential but needs support from the Government; especially now, when it has been fundamentally affected by the impact of Covid-19.

So, we are calling on you to cut excise duty on wine and to extend the temporary hospitality VAT cut introduced last year to March 2022, and to broaden it to include sales of alcoholic drinks in the upcoming March 2021 Budget.

This is important for both businesses and consumers as wine is now the UK’s favourite drink. Indeed, as research recently conducted by YouGov demonstrates, 32% of adults who drink alcohol say wine is now their favourite alcoholic drink – with popularity set to increase further.

And due to different consumption patterns, women pay more duty on alcoholic drinks compared to men. With more women drinking wine than men, a cut in wine duty is the most effective way of remedying this unfairness.

There is compelling evidence to suggest that, rather than costing the Exchequer, an excise duty cut, and a broader VAT cut maintained for longer could result in higher Government revenues over time. A lower tax regime would help many businesses survive the continued economic impact of Covid-19, to grow in the future, and to contribute to the local economy.

The closure of on-trade venues in recent months has meant that businesses – including the supply chain – have been unable to feel the benefit of the last freeze in alcohol excise duties. Wine businesses need additional support, including by encouraging consumer demand to return as the economy – including hospitality and the high street – re-opens.

This is why we calling on you to reduce the tax burden on wine businesses at this Budget; to support our vital hospitality sector to recover; and to comprehensively reform the UK’s alcohol taxation regime in the medium term to make it simpler, fairer and more attractive for business investment.

Signed,

Welsh most likely to choose wine based on taste while the English put price first

February 4th, 2021 – While there’s no disagreement across the UK that wine is the nation’s favourite drink, new research from Wine Drinkers UK shows there is real disparity across the Four Nations as to how we choose that wine.

The YouGov survey of more than 1,500 respondents across the UK who drink wine, shows that those in Wales are the most discerning, with almost seven in ten (68%) saying taste is the most important factor when choosing what wine to buy. North of the Border, the Scots also choose wine primarily by taste, with 60% saying it’s the key reason to choose a particular glass or bottle of wine.

However, in England and Northern Ireland it’s a different story. Purchases are primarily driven by price for over six in 10 (61%) English wine buyers and over half (57%) of Northern Irish*, as they look to get good bang for their buck in the wine aisles. Over a quarter of all respondents across the UK said they enjoyed a bargain, with an average of 28% across all nations saying they looked out for promotional discounts.

Where wine comes from is also a key factor for many: the Welsh are the most likely to be swayed by the country of origin, with over a third (34%) saying it’s a key factor; compared to only one fifth (21%) in Scotland.

What the nations do almost agree on however, is where they like their wine to come from. Scotland, England and Wales all choose France and Italy as their top choices, while Northern Ireland* awards Chile and South Africa the top two spots.

According to the research, wine from Austria is the least likely to be bought across the UK, with only 3% choosing wine from the country.

Despite the clear appreciation and enjoyment wine continues to give people across the United Kingdom, tax rises on wine (39%) in the last decade have far outstripped those on beer (16%) and spirits (27%). Only 4% of all respondents surveyed correctly guessed the level of tax on a £5 bottle of wine is 61% (83p on VAT and £2.23 on Duty).

Drinks writer, presenter and WDUK supporter Matthew Jukes said:

“The UK as a whole paints a fascinating picture of wine consumption, with each region having its own nuances, tastes and habits. There are some great regional differences but of course, the most important picture is the fact that wine is enjoyed across the country and is a growing industry within the UK economy.”

He continues: “This makes the huge taxing of the nation’s favourite drink even more concerning so consumers should know, whatever they fancy in their wine glass, they’re being unfairly charged to drink it compared to other alcoholic beverages.”

Contact

For more information please contact wduk@mhpc.com

About Wine Drinkers UK

Wine Drinkers UK is a collection of wine lovers, makers and sellers, fed up with being unfairly taxed. The Cut Back Wine Tax campaign was launched to get a fairer deal for wine drinkers across the country. Wine is woven into our social fabric, with almost a third (32%) of Brits saying it’s their preferred alcoholic drink. The UK’s wine drinkers deserve the Government’s support, not punitive treatment. 

Our supporters include wine producers, bottlers, retailers, and enthusiasts, as well as representatives from the UK’s hospitality sector.

You can see a list of our supporters here: www.winedrinkersuk.co.uk

Methodology

Fieldwork was undertaken by YouGov. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2191 adults, of which 1,514 drink wine. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th – 6th January 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).


*Northern Ireland stats based on 48 respondents being questioned