UK wine exports were worth £270 million in the first six months of 2017, which represents a 21% growth year-on-year, according to data from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).
Overall, exports grew by 8.5% to £10.2 billion during this period. The country's top exported products were whisky, salmon, and beer, with wine coming in sixth place.
“The figures demonstrate that wine is a key export product for the UK, providing a significant contribution to British food and drink," said Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).
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"We currently export more wine than beef or pork and at current trends we are set to overtake chocolate before long."
WSTA figures show that wine exports to the EU were worth £189 million in 2016 alone, and this year looks set to increase further following positive growth in the first six months.
However, the association has previously warned that a strong deal is needed to keep the European wine trade flowing after Brexit.
“The release of a customs paper earlier this week, detailing the Government’s intent to pursue an interim agreement whilst continuing negotiations with the EU over a free trade deal, is sensible," said Beale. "Uninterrupted trade with the EU is essential if we want to protect and increase our wine exports."
“Our industry also needs urgent clarity over the UK’s continued access to terms agreed under existing EU trade deals and wine agreements with third countries after March 2019 – particularly wine agreements with Australia and the USA, two key wine markets for the UK, as well as continuing to pursue a fast and comprehensive trade deal with the EU."
“The sooner businesses have this sort of clarity the easier a transition to a post-EU trading environment will be – when there also needs to be new bilateral trade deals of which British drinks can take advantage."
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine - Article by Sarah Harford.