The Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) said the Government’s plan to delay VI-1 wine certification for wine imported to the UK from the EU is “a huge relief”.

The certification was due to come into force in July but has now been delayed until December 31, 2021.

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the WSTA said: “The delay comes as a huge relief for the UK wine sector and its 130,000 employees. This is something the WSTA has been calling for to avoid wine price hikes, permanently disrupted supply and drastically reduced consumer choice from July. The WSTA has campaigned hard to make clear to Government that introducing wine import certificates would be damaging for our industry, especially its huge number of SMEs.

“However, this battle is far from over. A delay is merely kicking the can down the road – yet again. Instead of prevaricating, Ministers should be seizing this opportunity to help boost the UK wine sector, promote free trade and get a better deal for British wine businesses and consumers.

“There is absolutely no reason for introducing these new certificates. If we can do without these certificates for a year, then scrapping these unnecessary, EU-style rules and reducing red tape must be the right decision. What the WSTA would really like to do – as it has been asking for months now – is to work with government to scrap these certificates while ensuring sufficient traceability is maintained. Indeed, this would bring the rules for wine in line with all other alcoholic drinks products.

“It would also be an excellent first step towards abolishing all existing wine import red tape. This would ensure that Britain maintains its position as the central wine hub for the rest of the world – and would help substantiate this Government’s Global Britain ambitions”.