MPs were joined by wine expert, Matthew Jukes.
Matthew Jukes, Wine Correspondent of the Daily Mail, said: “I know from personal experience and the thousands of letters, emails and tweets I get from readers that English wine is on the up. Those who drink it really enjoy it, but very few people realise what a home-grown success story English wine is or that we now have approaching 500 vineyards and almost 150 wineries, which not only produce millions of bottles each year, but win international awards for them too. However, as I told Norman Baker, wine duty has also been on the up – by an incredible 54% since 2008. Our vineyards deserve more support, so I really hope the Chancellor will announce a modest 2% cut in duty in his Budget on 18th March.”
Norman Baker MP said: “I support my local vineyards so it was useful to learn more about them and about English wine more generally at this event. Not only that, but my constituency is home to the world famous Plumpton College, an agricultural institute with particular knowledge in wine production, that is helping to drive the growing potential of English wine to compete at the highest tables. Plumpton College is a vital employer in our area. Vineyards deserve support, both in the Budget and beyond, and I’ll be making clear to Ministers that they have mine.”
Speaking after the event, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, Miles Beale said: “It was great that Norman Baker MP could join us to discuss the importance of the vineyards in and around Lewes. With independent research showing that wine is now the nation’s favourite tipple, with over 30 million consumers, this year’s Budget provides the Chancellor with a golden opportunity to show he supports English wine and the UK’s wine and spirit industry as a whole by making a modest 2% cut in alcohol duty. I hope he takes note of Norman Baker’s support for their local vineyards and gives vineyards the boost they deserve.”