France considers putting duty on wine
Having put a duty on beer and spirits the French government is now considering putting a tax on wine. As with their counterparts in the UK the government argue that taxing the drinks industry is helping to combat health issues related to alcohol. Lobbying groups argue that there is no evidence that the taxes raised on spirits has had any impact on consumption. Instead what happens is that vulnerable drinkers go to cheaper brands of worse quality, and there is a corresponding rise in cross-border smuggling from countries with lower taxes.
The wine tax would be brought in during the annual tax reforms so would be expected in October 2013. Wine is the most consumed alcohol in France, accounting for 59% of alcohol consumption, compared to 16% for beer and 25% on spirits. Audrey Bourolleau, director general of lobbying group Vins et Société, says the wine industry in France contributed €7.6bn to the French economy in 2012, and is responsible for over 500,000 jobs both directly and indirectly.
The proposed tax is modest, with figures of €0.30-€0.60 per bottle of wine being discussed, compared to €1.90 per bottle for spirits.
Wine is currently taxed at €0.04 per bottle.
So where will we Brits go for our cheap plonk? And more to the point where are the French going to go? Well looking at the 2012 tax figures for wine it looks like they'll be hopping down south over the border to Spain and Portugal. Olé!