Late last week, chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng unveiled a mini budget in which he said the planned alcohol duty reform would now include a transitional measure for wine.

As part of the mini-budget statement, Kwarteng said: “I have listened to industry concerns about the ongoing reforms. I will therefore introduce an 18-month transitional measure for wine duty.”

The announcement comes as the government published its response to the consultation on alcohol duty reform.

This is what Kwarteng means by transitional measures:

  • All wine of fresh grape between 11.5-14.5% abv should use an assumed strength of 12.5% abv for the purposes of calculating duty.
  • This means that the duty payer should declare all wine of fresh grape with a labelled strength of between 11.5-14.5% abv as being 12.5% abv when completing their return. “This is expected to cover a large proportion of the wine market and will simplify the transition to the strength-based system for duty payers, especially on mixed pallets, whilst preserving the principle of a strength-based system,” the consultation response said.
  • Wine of fresh grape with a labelled strength outside of the 11.5%-14.5% abv range will need to be declared according to the labelled strength.
  • The measure will be in place for 18 months from August 1, 2023, until February 1, 2025. After that, the response said that all wine in this range will be expected to have duty calculated based on the labelled abv.

To read the full alcohol duty system consultation response, click here