Post-Brexit trade talks: How badly do Europe’s exporters need a deal with the UK?

A lorry boards a ferry at the Hook of Holland terminal in Rotterdam, Netherlands, September 11, 2018.

Wine trade: No deal ‘will hit the little guys’

The prospect of tariffs and more red tape would likely put up the price of European wines in the UK, where sales have already been hit by the pandemic.

The Domaine Gayda winery in France’s Languedoc region sends a third of its exports to the UK, some 15% of its total production of 1.4 million bottles. Managing Director Tim Ford has nurtured the British end of the business over 18 years.

“We’ve developed a marketing system of going direct to small wholesalers, restaurant chains, and even the odd small wine shop in London and all over the country — and that business model now is completely under threat with the new possibility of a no-deal Brexit,” he told Euronews.

Ford describes such a scenario as a “game-changer”, adding that his wine bottles would face costly new regulations in the UK relating to traceability and health and safety.

All his clients would need their own individual labels. “Then for every shipment, even small ones, we’ll have to get a full analysis of every wine, which is costing like €65 a wine. So that almost prohibits economically these small direct shipments,” he added.

“The really tragic thing is if there’s no deal, it’ll privilege the large importers like the large supermarkets, people that can afford to order big volumes,” Ford said.

“This is going to prejudice the small entrepreneurial wine shop, restaurant owner, wholesaler. The extra costs of us re-labelling and analysing wine, we’ll have to pass it onto them. And it’ll make their costs of import so much higher than the big guys.” …