Environment Secretary Therese Coffey has hailed a new post-Brexit victory, after her department announced a review into wine regulations that could save Britons 50p a bottle.
The Department for the Environment has said that scrapping retained EU laws around the industry will “put a rocket under” the UK wine businesses and potentially boost the sector by £180 million.
As part of the Retained EU Law bill currently working its way through Parliament, swathes of Brussels regulations will be scrapped, which could bring the price of a bottle down by 50p.
Ms Coffey says the changes will give vineyards the “freedom they need to thrive”.
“For too long our producers have been held back by cumbersome inherited EU regulations.”
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Speaking on Sky News this morning, Ms Coffey said the Government is looking at a variety of regulations, with wine currently governed by 400 pages of bureaucratic directives, still on the statue books after we left the bloc.
Ms Coffey believes many of these can be “stripped away”, saying the move was about taking advantage of the fact that post-Brexit the UK can set its own regulations and “get rid of the bureaucracy”.
“This should produce potentially up to 50p off a bottle of wine.”
“That’s a good way to toast the forthcoming summer and we’ll get on with the regulations as quickly as we can.”
The UK’s own wine industry has been growing gangbusters over recent years, with sales increasing by nearly 70% over the past two years, and the number of vines planted each year averaging more than 1.6m.
Experts have said that Britain’s sparkling variety now rivals France’s champagne offering, with some well-known Champagne houses buying up vineyards in southern England.
Ditching EU regulations could give winemakers greater freedom to pick from a wider range of vines, including more disease-resistant varieties.
It would also improve freedoms to produce new blends, as well as allow bottlers to turn imported still wines into sparkling.
Packaging rules for sparkling wine, mandating foil caps and ‘mushroom’ corks, will also be abolished – one of the more costly examples of regulations set to go.
Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch, who recently came under fire for ditching plans to abolish all retained EU law by default at the end of the year, championed the move.
Ms Badenoch said: “Reforming and scrapping burdensome regulation will help grow the economy and provide businesses with much-needed freedoms to innovate, create and thrive”.