Defra Minister Victoria Prentis vows to champion the UK’s wine and spirit industry


The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) welcomed a positive and productive meeting with Government Minister Victoria Prentis MP yesterday.

The largest representative body of the alcoholic beverage industry secured the meeting with Defra’s Under Secretary of State to discuss the cocktail of post-Brexit obstacles, mainly moving goods to the EU and unnecessary, inherited red tape that is – or threatens to – hamper trading.

At the meeting, the Minister made a clear commitment to work “more closely” with the WSTA to find solutions and opportunities to overcome the fallout from Brexit and Covid.

During the meeting, which covered a broad range of issues, the Minister also committed to championing the wine and spirit industry across Government as the sector looks to rebuild and recover.

The meeting offered the opportunity to outline the value, diversity and potential of the industry, as well as discussing the WSTA’s priorities, including wine import certification (VI-1s), spirits import licences, labelling, packaging, trade, excise duty and more.

As part of recognising the value of the UK as the world’s wine and spirit hub, the Minister acknowledged the industry’s significant concerns regarding any introduction of new wine import certificates; and reiterated that the Government will continue to consider whether there is any value in retaining wine specific certifications at all.

The Minister also welcomed the WSTA’s invitation to see the industry in action, making clear her Department’s desire to work closely with the WSTA and its members on the issues that matter.

Defra Food Minister Victoria Prentis said:

“I was pleased to have the opportunity to speak with the WSTA as we continue our extensive engagement with the UK wine and spirit industry.

“The Government is committed to continued support for the sector so businesses can take advantage of all the opportunities that lie ahead.

“I look forward to working closely with the WSTA and its members to help drive forward the Government’s ambitious agenda to champion great British products. We are committed to ensuring that the UK maintains its key role as a global trading hub for wine and spirits.”

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, added:

“This was a really positive first meeting with the Minister and her team. She understood fully the key issues affecting the sector today. I was particularly pleased that she wants to work more closely with the WSTA to find solutions that can resolve the issues we have raised and which can reinforce the UK’s position as a global hub for the wine and spirit trade.”