Wine world digests Brexit shock
The wine world is still getting to grips with the likely ramifications of the UK vote to leave the European Union, with fine wine price rises and increased market share for New World-producing countries among the possible consequences (see also Market Watch, p113).
Wine merchants based in the UK reported brisk trading from Asia and the US in particular as buyers sought to take advantage of the falling value of the pound in the wake of the Brexit vote result. Sterling’s 31-year low also signalled an abrupt end to the Bordeaux 2015 en primeur campaign.
There are fears that UK wine lovers will suffer as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU, with the weak pound meaning that most European wines will become more expensive in the near term.
Brexit could also offer a boost to nonEuropean wine-producing countries such as Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, making them more competitive against their European rivals, Andrew Shaw, group wine buying director for wine distributor and retailer Conviviality, said.
In the longer term, he added, the outcome of trade negotiations with the EU could ‘threaten the sustainability’ of many wine suppliers in Europe, who are heavily reliant on the UK market.
Economic analysts have also warned that the UK could face recession following the vote, damaging consumer confidence across the wine sector at a time when consumption had begun to rise again.
Meanwhile, the view from Bordeaux was mixed, with much uncertainty and anxiety about the future. However, Christian Seely of Château Pichon Baron owner AXA Millésimes wrote on his blog: ‘Inevitably there will be some short-term turbulence, but personally I do not foresee major long-term disruption.
‘England and Bordeaux have been trading closely for many centuries: the British market has a special place in the hearts of Bordeaux producers; and Bordeaux equally has a special place in the hearts of British wine drinkers.’
Above: Christian Seely of AXA Millésimes, owner of châteaux such as Pichon Baron