The National Off-Licence Association (NOffLA) has awarded its annual Irish Wine Show Star Awards to 54 wines. The winning wines from the Irish Wine Show Star Awards will be available to consumers from NOffLA outlets across Ireland.
NOffLA expressed the disappointment of its members that Ireland continues to levy the highest excise on wine across the EU and UK. NOffLA hopes to see a reduction in excise duty as part of Budget 2024, which will help ease the high cost burdens experienced by many independent off-licences in the last year.
NOffLA, along with the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) called for a 7.5% reduction in alcohol excise levels in Budget 2024, supported by a further 7.5% reduction next year to bring Ireland’s alcohol excise regime in line with European levels and to also help protect the commercial viability of businesses within the Irish drinks sector in an increasingly challenging trading environment.
In excess of 600 wines were submitted to the Star Award adjudication panel of NOffLA judges and independent wine journalists. Points were awarded on the basis of appearance, smell, taste and value for money criteria, and the winning 54 were selected as the best wines from key suppliers across a number of price categories.
Cathal McHugh, chairman, NOffLA, said: “Unfortunately, Irish drinks sector businesses are burdened with the highest levels of alcohol excise in the EU and UK, and excise increases from a decade ago remain in place and continue to impact these small, independent businesses. We hope that an excise reduction will be included in Budget 2024 tomorrow, given the increasingly uncertain economic conditions these businesses now face.
“It is also particularly disappointing given that with Minimum Unit Pricing coming into effect early last year, which now safeguards against the retailing of alcohol at dangerously low prices, Ireland’s punitively high excise levels are no longer justified from a public health perspective.”