Wine prices at all-time high after Brexit

The average price of a bottle has risen more in the last 12 weeks than over the last two years
The average price of a bottle has risen more in the last 12 weeks than over the last two years
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Brexit has already pushed the price of a bottle of wine to an all-time high, with further rises predicted, a trade body said.

The average price of a bottle has risen more in the last 12 weeks than over the last two years, passing the £5.50 mark at the end of last year to reach £5.56 now, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) said.

It blamed the impact of Brexit, which saw the value of the pound plummet and push up the cost of imports, leading to rising inflation.

This had led to a 3% increase on wine prices in 12 weeks to the beginning of 2017 compared with a 1% increase over the previous two years, not including the rise of 3.9% in alcohol duty announced in the March Budget, adding another 8p to the average-priced bottle.

The WSTA warned in October that the price of a bottle of wine from the EU could go up by an average of 29p as a result of Brexit, with the fall in the value of sterling having a "serious and immediate impact" on importers.

It said 99% of the 1.8 billion bottles of wine drunk in the UK are imported, meaning that any added tariffs would have a "punishing" effect.

Its market report covering the 12 weeks to March 25 shows the average priced bottle of wine is up 19p compared with £5.37 during the same 12 weeks of 2015 and up 16p from £5.40 during the same period in 2016.

It said the UK wine industry had done its best to absorb rising import costs, but it was "only a matter of time" before any cushioning against the effects of a weaker pound ran out and costs were passed on to the consumer.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: "Last year the WSTA predicted that Brexit and the fall in the value of the pound, compounded by rising inflation, would force the UK wine industry to up their prices.

"Sadly this is now a reality as an average priced bottle of wine in the UK is at an all-time high.

"Unfortunately, for both British businesses and consumers, we are clear that this is not a one-off adjustment, but rather that wine prices will continue to rise.

"What is even more concerning is that this does not take into account the inflationary duty rise - at a painful 3.9% - on alcohol inflicted by the Chancellor in the March Budget.

"We all know that Brexit will be complicated, but something has got to give and government must start showing its support for the UK wine industry and the 275,000 jobs that our industry supports by tackling our excessive duty rates at the Autumn Budget."