Just like the 30 million regular wine drinkers in the UK, I love my wine. It’s an important food group, and it’s the reason why I write this eclectic collection of vinous ramblings with the vague hope of someone reading them (I know, pathetic isn’t it).
Today I’m getting on my soap box because wine is a topic which has largely been neglected by the warring Leave and Remain factions (who clearly haven’t got their priorities right at all). Luckily for us, though, plenty of wine writers have already been debating the consequences. Simon Reilly points out that damage is already being done with the collapse of the £ against the €, forcing up prices on wine imported from the EU, and this would only worsen if free trade with EU member countries is removed after Brexit. The Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA) also has significant doubts over the future of UK wine and spirits exports, with 90% of its members favouring remaining in the EU. Europe is a very important market for British spirits (think gin, whisky, Irish whiskey and all manner of flavoured vodkas and liqueurs…), and these exports only stand to become more convoluted and expensive for UK businesses in the wake of a Leave victory.
On the flip side, Reilly counters that this could provide real opportunities for homegrown English and Welsh wine. It’s a solid point, but one of the main goals for the UK wine industry at the moment is to ramp up exports; one of the targets announced earlier this by the Environment Secretary announced targets was an increase of 1000% (from current levels of 250,000 bottles to a pretty hefty 2.5 million) on British wine exports by 2020! Interestingly, several of the countries that enjoy a bit of British vino are EU members, namely Spain, Portugal and the Czech Republic. So with all the uncertainties over the UK’s trade position with the EU and the rest of the world in the event of a Brexit, leaving the EU would most likely complicate plans to increase wine exports to EU member states.
Is there any silver lining? Maybe a tiny glimmer. If the UK really does play it’s “Get Out of Jail Free” card on June 23rd, there’s likely to be an negative impact on the pound so at least in the short-term UK wine exports should look a lot cheaper for the rest of the world. Good for UK wine producers, then. But bad for UK consumers.
Are you a Brit? Then you know what to do. Vote for your wine. And then go and enjoy a really nice celebratory/commiseratory glass of something European – remember, it might be the last time you can afford it!
What’s your opinion of Brexit? Are you worried about what will happen if the UK leaves or remains in the EU? Let us know in the comments below, and if you’ve enjoyed reading this post, why not join us here at The Wine Culturist by simply clicking the follow button in the sidebar… We always love making new winelover friends!
P.S. Still not convinced? Check out what Decanter has to say about rising wine prices in the event of Brexit, the alarmingly-entitled “Brexit – a nightmare for wine drinkers” and a HuffPost assessment of the worrying wine consequences for Brexit.