Wine importers to the UK have formed a new trade group to lobby the government on duty and produce a new code of practice.
The Wine Trade Action Group (WTAG) is made up of senior figures from 32 suppliers and is inviting other members, including retailers, to join.
Chairman Michael Paul, MD of Western Wines, said there was a strong feeling the industry’s voice was not heard on key fiscal and social issues. WTAG said small yearly duty increases, which had to be implemented within 48 hours, were an expensive administrative burden. It plans to propose alternative ways of handling duty, which may include more advance notice or a commitment from government of inflation-only increases for several years.
On the social side, the group hopes to come up with a code of practice on responsible promotions and retailing, incorporating issues such as packaging and unit labelling. It will fund research to find out if wine should take any of the blame for Britain’s binge drinking culture.

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