Climate change will soon affect the price of your favourite wine
June 27, 2023
I recently came back from a wine event in Piedmont where I discovered several new wineries and wines that are hoping to start importing soon, but the topic that kept being mentioned during the conversations with the wine makers, there was one topic common to all of them, affecting every single one without exception was, the climate change. Topic that, in Italy, following an unusual 2023 characterised by lack of snow in the mountains and very little rain in some place followed by episodes of heavy downpours destroying everything on their way or plenty in others, had become even more current.
Making wine is becoming more and more challenging and wine makers have been witnessing and adapting to it for the last 10 years, well ahead many of us. One of the producers I spoke to, from the Asti wine region, was telling me that 15 years ago, having a Barbera d’Asti with an abv of 13.5% was the sign of a great vintage; now, they struggle to produce anything below independently of the quality of the vintage. Climate change, we may not see it, but it is happening and it has been happening for a while, and winemakers, behind the scene, have been dealing with it.
And this is not just Italy but all over the world, every corner of the globe is experiencing and being affected by climate change, UK included, in different ways. And vine growers and farmers in general are at the frontline and wine makers are struggling to produce wines with a normal abv, where the “normal” keeps increasing with every vintage.
And starting from August, unless of a last minute scrap or extension which we are all hoping for, climate change will affect the price of our favourite wine. The duty on wine will be determined by the alcohol content affecting wine produced all over the world especially warmer climates. Any wine with an alcohol content of 11.5% and above will see an increase in duty, increase that will force importers to put prices up.
Not only this is not fair, the wineries are already facing the climate change effects, and it is not the right time, the price increase will contribute to the inflation and will delay its return within the BOE’s target, but the increase will penalise vine growers and wine makers whilst favouring industries that will be able to reduce the alcohol content through industrial processes, affecting the taste of the wine, because currently it cannot be done in the winery without producing unbalanced wine. I believe that if the duty reform goes ahead, we will see supermarkets’ shelves filled with wines with an abv of 11.5% or below damaging the whole wine industry and penalising responsible wine drinkers that will be forced to spend more for their favourite wine whilst potentially, encouraging the production and drinking of lower quality wine.
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