WSTA calls for “light-touch” import regime after Brexit

The UK’s wine and spirits trade body will press the British government to introduce a simplified certification system for wine imported from Europe in January 2021, its overseas affairs director has said.

The news was announced on 10 February at Vinexpo, Paris, during the Vinexpo Academy session on Brexit.

European and international affairs director Simon Stannard announced that the Wine and Spirit Trade Association would be meeting with government officials from 17-21 February, calling for a “light touch” short-term approach to certification after Brexit.

The European Union requires importers of wines from other countries to complete a VI1 certificate, requiring seven lab tests to assess the alcohol strength and levels of acidity and sulphur dioxide in the wine, and ensure standard units of measurement are accurate.

Stannard says the VI1 certificate isn’t favoured from a UK perspective, because it is not a useful tool for enforcement purposes, and the development of a new high-tech system that can be accessed from vineyard to point of retail should be pursued as a long-term solution.

“But I think in the short term, there is the option to have a simplified VI1 procedure,” he says. “At the very least, we should, between the UK and the EU, negotiate a simplified procedure from the first of January next year. Ideally, we would like to see something that gets us from where we are now to where we would like to be in future, with a sensible transition.”

Stannard said he was “hopeful” that mutual recognition for organic wine regulations between the EU and the UK would be achieved before the end of the year.

Photo: The Vinexpo Academy session on Brexit