England is historically a very important market for Italy. According to the latest Ismea surveys, our Country is the first wine supplier in the United Kingdom, with 3.2 million hectolitres in 2016 (+ 4% compared to 2015) and the second one in terms of turnover (equivalent to 813 million Euros), after France, which leads the field with 1.4 billion Euros. Over half (52% of volumes) of Italian wine exported in Great Britain comes from cooperatives. That's why the Alliance of Agri-food Cooperatives raised the question about what the repercussions on Italian wine exports to the United Kingdom will be after Brexit.
Many wineries have experienced an initial 'shock' because of the devaluation of sterling which, after the announcement to date, has lost about 20% of its purchasing power. Wine in England already has a higher price, because Great Britain has chosen to apply very high excise duties on wine. But the already very high tax burden allows somehow excluding a future scenario in which the British government intervenes by introducing additional duties.
The risk consists in that in the future the English could give priority to imports of wine from distant Countries, from the Commonwealth ones in particular, such as Australia and New Zealand, as well as Chile, United States, and South Africa. Traditionally England has always been a very open Country: we cannot forget that, for the United Kingdom, Australia, with 2.4 million hectolitres, is the second largest supplier by volumes, even ahead of France. In addition, right now in some areas the English began the cultivation of grapes and are producing a dry gray wine that is also having a fair appreciation in the home market.
The final concern is related to the evolution of Community legislation from the moment when the legislature will have no obligation as for EU rules.