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Brexit could limit sparkling wine sales in UK, says WSTA

DBR Staff Writer Published 02 January 2018

A new report has revealed that Brits can’t get enough of sparkling wine but Brexit and low yields could limit fizz supplies.

The UK’s sparkling wine trade saw volume sales increase 89% and up 206% by value in the last five years.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s market report revealed that in the 12 months to September 2017, UK consumers bought the equivalent of more than 140 million bottles of all sparkling wine worth over £1.3bn.

It is up 12% in volume on the same period the previous year and 65 million more bottles bought by Brits than in 2013.

The association has warned that this year may not be a smooth sailing year for sparkling wine industry, given the fact that Brexit is around the corner.

When the market value of sparkling wine is combined with Champagne, the fizz market was worth more than £2bn.

On the other hand, industry experts have warned that some influencing factors such as late spring frosts and droughts across Europe over the summer have resulted in lower yields last year.

Another factor is the uncertainty of Brexit and high rate of inflation could result in shortage of supply for imported sparkling wine in the country this year.

WSTA research and insights manager Ciaran Myles said: “It’s safe to say there is no bursting of any bubbles according to sales figures for sparkling wine, although they are not quite as lofty as they once were.

"If you compare this year to the previous two years growth for total industry volume sales of sparkling wine were about 15% in 2015, 10% in 2016 and it’s looking like single digits for this year.

“Reports of lower yields from the slopes of Northern Italy, inflation and all the complications that come with Brexit, volumes of sparkling wine might go a little flat in 2018 but the UK sparkling wine market is well placed to weather tough times.”

WSTA CEO Miles Beale said: "The UK is the EU’s number one market for volume wine exports after Germany and in return Britain is the largest exporter spirits in the world - 42% of exports goes to Europe. We need government to make progress on a trade deal to give the wine and spirit industry some stability in 2018.”

Image: Last year, the UK bought 140 million bottles of sparkling wine. Photo: Courtesy of Rosen Georgiev/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.