The trade organisation for the UK wine industry has warned that the government’s Small Producers’ Relief Scheme (SPRS) will effectively exclude wine.

In the recent mini-budget on September 23, the government outlined plans for a revamped alcohol excise duty system, part of which introduces a SPRS to enable a reduced level of duty for smaller producers of alcoholic beverages. However, the scheme only applies to products of 8.5%abv or below, which WineGB warned “effectively excludes wine”.

The trade group said small cider and beer producers will benefit from the plans and in the case of the smallest cider producers, “they will be entirely exempt from paying duty”.

WineGB has called on the Treasury to grant small wine producers access to the SPRS.

Simon Thorpe MW, CEO of WineGB, said: “Despite the government’s aim of creating a fair and simple alcohol duty taxation system, our wine producers have been inexplicably excluded. This potentially stifles growth in the fastest growing agricultural sector in this country and is fundamentally unfair to our small producers.

“The vast majority of our vineyards and producers are small businesses and it is not right that they are being unfairly treated by being denied the support that beer and cider makers are afforded.”

According to WineGB, there are now around 900 vineyards in the UK.