Hallgarten & Novum Wines has become the latest company to announce it will temporarily cover forthcoming duty increases.

The importer said late last week that it will cover much of the increase in duty arising from the August 1 reform. The business said it is taking this step to provide a “short reprieve to hospitality and retail operators” to allow them to get through the summer season without changing wine lists.

The move follows a similar announcement from The Wine Society, which said it would absorb rises until October.

Hallgarten & Novum Wines said the practical implications for changing a wine list at the height of summer shaped the company’s decision to implement the freeze.

Hallgarten will focus on supporting the ‘sharp end’ of their range, targeting wines selling on restaurant wines lists at under £30-£35 and on the shelf at up to £12.50-£14. The scheme will credit customers for the duty increase (44p per bottle ex VAT) on August sales of a selection of 148 still wines between 11.5% and 14.5% abv currently selling to duty paid customers.

Combined with a reduction in duty on lower alcohol, sparkling wines and Champagnes, it will allow many operators to delay overhauling their wine lists until September, the company said.

Andrew Bewes, managing director of Hallgarten Wines, said: “This is an extraordinary time for the wine industry and the sectors we serve, and we hope this initiative will help us and our customers deal with the operational challenge that the duty-change presents.

“We have been a very active and vocal campaigner against the change in duty regime, but since the decision was confirmed by HMRC and the detail announced, we have turned our attention to the practicalities of how to navigate such a significant change mid-season.”  

Full details of the scheme will be released next month.