The UK government will axe certain post-Brexit red tape on wine imports in a move it claims will save wine drinkers about £130m a year.
The decision to end requirements for VI-1 import certificates came after the strong lobbying from the wine industry, which claimed it would cause lasting damage to the sector.
This move by the government will scrap the forms for wine imports from all countries, including non-EU.
Before Brexit, VI-1 forms were only required on wine imports from non-EU countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
However, the decision to extend these forms to EU wine was met with dismay across the wine trade, given the EU supplies about half of Britain’s wine each year. Each form costs about £20 and laboratory tests for many shipments can exceed £300.
Miles Beale, CEO of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said it was a “truly historic moment” for the UK’s wine trade.
“We have spent more than two years campaigning relentlessly to avoid the introduction of new import certificates for EU wine imports on the one hand and scrapping the unnecessary and costly VI-1 wine paperwork for on-EU wine imports on the other.”
It would also give a competitive advantage to UK wine merchants over EU companies who must still complete VI-1 forms for non-EU wines, said James Miles, co-Founder of Liv-ex, a global marketplace for the wine trade.
“It makes UK an even better place to come and buy wine, strengthens our standing as a global hub and by extension is good for exporters.”
It is a change in policy from the government, which said last year the cost to the industry would be “negligible or nil”.
Making the announcement on Sunday, Victoria Prentis, food and drink minister, said: “Cutting this needless red tape will place our businesses in a stronger position internationally, as they continue to grow, while consumers can raise a glass to great wine from around the world.”