The fine wine market received good news over the weekend when the UK government announced it will scrap costly red tape for all wine imports to the country. Wine imports from all countries into the UK will no longer require VI-1 forms, reducing costs and burdens for producers, importers, retailers, and consumers.
“This a clear positive. The UK holds a prime position in the global fine wine trade so freeing the industry from any extra costs and burdens will always be a good thing for the market. This doesn’t mean we will see a sudden rally, but it adds another long-term tailwind to the fine wine outlook.” – Olivier Staub, Cult Wines’ Investment Director.
The late 2020 post-Brexit trade agreement between the UK and EU eased the burden by simplifying these wine-specific forms for imports and exports between the two sides. However, the full VI-1 forms were still required for wines from other countries coming into the UK. This recent announcement does away with the VI-1s altogether, including the simplified version of the form for EU imports. The Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA) applauded the government’s decision, saying it prevents the price of a bottle of wine increasing by around 13p.
The news boosts the outlook for the fine wine investment market, which already celebrated the end of US tariffs on EU wine imports earlier this year. To start with, the cumbersome VI-1 forms called for a lab analysis on each wine, meaning expensive and rare bottles would have needed to be opened and tested before they were brought into the UK. Clearly, this would put a dent into any investment. The UK also remains a key hub for the global fine wine market. A simplified regulatory environment for wine imports into the UK can only boost the global fine wine outlook by simplifying trade and providing more options for merchants and buyers.