Talking Wine – March 2019

Champagne sales to the UK fell sharply in 2018 which is either a reflection of the economy or because English sparkling wine is beginning to make an impact. Certainly 2019 will produce a bumper vintage and yet it would be wishful thinking to expect the prices to come down – which is a shame. At £25 a bottle, sales would rise hugely and better known Champagnes could be knocked off the retail shelf. However despite rising costs, endless administration and transport costs prices will, at best, be kept stable. At £30-35 it is still competing with serious Champagne and the cause of the English (and Welsh) winemakers is not helped by the ever increasing wine duty. The Chancellor chose to freeze beer and spirit prices yet again to help the local market but yet did nothing to help our grape farmers. What’s more sparkling duty rates are higher than still wine. Please give me one explanation why, in the modern era, this should be the case.

So Mr Chancellor, extract a digit and support our industry. We impose these taxes – not the EC – so there is no excuse.

I’ve just been reading about a 10k run in some Moldovan cellars but I wonder what would be the longest possible run without going over the same ground in some of the champagne cellars. Does anyone care to let me know ?