We’re also currently responsible for some 10% of all still wine re-exported via the UK, putting us in fourth place below France, the Netherlands and Denmark according to the UK Wine & Spirit Trade Association’s Annual Wine report, published recently.
Like Ireland, the UK suffers from an excessively high wine duty. The WSTA points out in its report that 67% of all the wine duties collected by EU member states is collected in the UK alone, making it the second-highest in the EU for excise duty on wine after Ireland (which, with only a tenth of the UK’s population, contributes just under 5%).
Similarly, 43% of all sparkling wine duty collected by EU member states is collected in the UK while Ireland is responsible for just over 1% of the EU’s sparkling wine tax excise bill where 14 of the countries in the EU pay no excise tax on wine at all.
There’s been a 56% increase in tax on wine in the UK since 2008 (just as Ireland has witnessed a 55.5% increase in duty since 2008). The report points out that in 2015 The Treasury collected £3.8 billion in wine duty and £1.8bn in VAT.
Here, the equivalent provisional figures from the Revenue Commissioners are €354.6 million in excise duty on wine and €235 million in VAT on wine in 2015.
A 55% tax on wine means that an average-priced 75cl bottle of wine sees £2.08 collected in duty (+ 90p VAT) and £2.67 duty is collected on an average-priced bottle of sparkling wine (+ £1.16 VAT).
Here, excise tax of €3.19 (plus €1.68 VAT) account for 54% of the price of a €9 bottle of wine (or €4.87).
The WSTA also ran a consumer poll which found that white wine was the most common wine style drunk at a bar in the previous four weeks (32%) with red wine coming in at 22%, Rosé 21%, sparkling wine (including Champagne) 17% and fortified wine (7%).
When asked what type of white wine consumers had drunk in the last month they responded: Sauvigonon Blanc and Pinot Grigio 47%, Chardonnay 32%, Chenin Blanc 12%, Semillon, Soave and Riesling 4%, Bourgogne 2%.
The equivalent figure for reds was Merlot 49%, Cabernet Sauvignon 35%, Shiraz/Syrah 33%, Pinot Noir 19%, Malbec 18%, Tempranillo 15%, Cote du Rhone 11% and Chianti 8%.
However the on-trade channel there enjoys much the same share of the wine market as it does here at 19% by volume although wine volumes have declined in both on- and off-trade channels.
However on-trade wine there is responsible for 38% by value and the on-trade tends to sell wines from France and Italy mostly. The two countries are responsible for 53% of total on-trade volume, worth 59% of the total on-trade wine market.
By contrast, Italy, France, Australia and New Zealand make up 54% of wine volume in the off-trade, 57% by value.