Spanish wine pours in ahead of Brexit leaving date : : UK wine imports have slumped since the Brexit vote, but Spanish producers are shipping a whole year’s supply ahead of leaving Day 29 March 2019. They are hoping there will be enough to go round if Brits come off the wagon to celebrate – or drown their sorrows – as the country exits the EU.
This follows advice from the Spanish Wine Federation that has urged growers to send as many bottles as they can to Britain in case there is a no-deal exit. “Organise transportation and make sure bottles are correctly labelled to avoid delays at ports.”
La Rioja is the biggest European wine region in terms of exports to the UK. Santiago Frias, of Rioja Winery, Bodegas Riojanas revealed: “We have already shipped all of our sales for the first half of 2019 with 90% of our customers.”
UK downs most Rioja wine – 4.6m litres a month
In a good month, British drinkers can down 4.6 million litres of Rioja, with top brands like Muga and Imperial as popular as ever. But consumption has been down 16% since the Brexit vote. Spanish growers have also been hit by the decline of Sterling against the Euro. Inigo Torres, manager of Grupo Rioja said: “It could get worse for us if the pound depreciates further and we have to face higher duties.”
In the first nine months of 2018, Rioja wineries sold 32 million litres of vino to UK buyers – one third of the region’s global exports. It is believed a record 21 million litres was shipped in January 2019.
Sales of Spain’s cava, now the most drunk sparkling wine after champagne, have been boosted in the UK by the opening of a Cava Academy in London. Sommeliers from restaurants across the UK were trained and examined in wine theory and tasting.
French champagne consumption is down 10% since Brexit, but Brits still managed to get through 26.7 million bottles. Britain remains the biggest market for champagne houses.
Author: Elliott Barnett, international property writer | Image: Wine from La Rioja, favourite tipple in Britain