17 ASSOCIATIONS DEMAND END TO WINE AND SPIRITS TARIFFS

17 associations representing both the US and European wine and spirit trades have submitted comments opposing proposals for further US tariffs on wine, beer and spirits. industry bodies have submitted comments to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) after news of another tariff review last month.

In addition to existing tariffs on still wine, Scotch whisky and liqueurs, the US said it was considering further levies of up to 100% on beer, gin and vodka made in France, Germany, Spain, and the UK.

The dispute relates to EU subsidies given to aviation company Airbus over US-based rival Boeing.

In their comments, the groups cited the latest data which revealed that US imports of Scotch whisky were down by almost 33% between October 2019 and May 2020, while imports of wine fell by 44% and liqueurs and cordials by 23% during the same period.

Analysis conducted by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), one of the groups to submit comments, warned that US tariffs on UK and EU wine, distilled spirits and beer could lead to as many as 95,900 job losses, depending on the extent of the tariffs.

In a joint statement, the group said: “Our 17 US, EU and UK associations are united in strong opposition to tariffs on beverage alcohol products. We are speaking with one voice in calling for the US administration and the European Commission to remove the current tariffs on spirits and wine from the EU and UK, and American whiskeys, and to forgo imposing any additional tariffs on beverage alcohol products. We hope Friday’s announcement by Airbus and the legislation passed in Washington State in March regarding civil aviation subsidies are significant steps toward the elimination of tariffs.

“Beverage alcohol sectors on both sides of the Atlantic have suffered enough. These tariffs are exacerbating the incredible burden hospitality businesses are experiencing with the widespread closures of bars and restaurants due to Covid-19. The US and EU need to seek measures to bolster hospitality jobs, not saddle businesses with unnecessary tariffs,” they added.

In October 2019, the US has imposed tariffs on US$7.5 billion worth of EU goods – including wine, spirits and liqueurs – as result of this dispute. The country first imposed 25% tariffs on drinks including Scotch whisky and wine (not over 14% ABV) made in France, Germany, Spain and the UK. The EU has stated that it may impose retaliatory tariffs on US rum, vodka, brandy and wine.

In a separate dispute in June 2018, the EU imposed a 25% tariff on all US whiskey imports. It is scheduled to increase these tariffs to 50% in spring 2021.

In addition to DISCUS, the 16 other associations include: SpiritsEurope, the Scotch Whisky Association, American Beverage Licensees, the National Retail Federation, the American Craft Spirits Association, the American Distilled Spirits Alliance, the National Council of Chain Restaurants, Kentucky Distillers’ Association, the National Association of Beverage Importers, the National Restaurant Association, the US Wine & Trade Alliance, WineAmerica, the Wine Institute, the Wine and Spirits Shippers Association, Wines & Spirits Wholesalers of America, and the National Association of Wine Retailers.

Source:  Drinks Business

Argentina joins New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Canada and the US/California in forming a New World Wine Alliance to boost performance in the Chinese market

Industry body Wines of Argentina has signed an agreement with Shanghai’s Grapea & Co to be part of the alliance aimed at furthering the perception of New World wine in China.

The project, which began in June and will run until October this year, will take the form of a marketing and educational campaign supported by Grapea & Co’s Yang Lu, China’s first Master Sommelier.

The campaign will focus on both online content, transmitted through social media and blogging platforms, as well as wine and sommelier competitions.

The free content will be available on the New World Wine WeChat account and will consist of 18 virtual masterclasses on New World wine regions and 42 videos on topics such as the wine history, viticulture, winemaking, news, cultural traditions and food and wine matching.

These will also be made available on other platforms including Tik Tok, Dianping, and T-Mall.

In addition, the initiative will also feature 22 live broadcasts from key industry figures and popular wine bloggers.

According to the latest data, the scheme has already proved successful. In the first 15 days after the launch in June, the content platforms recorded a total of 68,000 visits and more than 8,000 views of video content.

Commenting on Argentina’s involvement in the project, Maximiliano Hernández Toso, who took over as president of Wines of Argentina earlier this year, said: “Being part of a project of this magnitude reflects the recognition that Argentine wine has gained internationally and the development of its industry.

“I believe that this is a great opportunity for our flagship product to expose its full potential, supporting and accompanying the drive of the collective strength of regions and countries that scale the world stage. We are confident of the impact of continued education and in working with international opinion leaders, such as, in this case, Yang Lu, the only Chinese Master Sommelier in the world.”

It follows news that Argentina was the only country to record an increase in both import volume and value of wine sent to China between January and May this year.

California bars and restaurants can now offer outdoor seating

California’s bars and restaurants can reopen for table service as long as they can provide outdoor seating, according to new measures announced this week.

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) in California has proposed regulations for bars and restaurants that will allow them to seat diners on the property that is “adjacent to the licensed premises”, such as pavements or car parks.

The ABC has previously ruled that on-trade outlets can offer take-out and home delivery to patrons so they could stay in business while the state’s lockdown measures are in place.

Pre-made cocktails and other alcoholic drinks are only to be sold as a take-out option if they are served with a meal.

California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a directive to close all bars, wineries, nightclubs and brewpubs in the state on March 15 and called for all seniors age 65 years or older to stay in self-isolation, in an effort to stop Covid-19 from spreading and putting a strain on local hospitals.

The temporary authorization only allows bars and restaurants to sell alcohol “during times in which bona fide meals are being served,” and allows them to use outdoor spaces that comply with public safety and welfare requirements.

Meanwhile, venues should still “encourage takeout and delivery service whenever possible,” according to California’s latest guidance for bars and restaurants issued last week.

The ABC updated its guidelines on May 19, and also ruled that licensees that do not have their kitchen facilities and do not prepare bona fide meals on the licensed premises to partner with businesses that do offer meals ( a “meal provider”) to “sell bona fide meals in conjunction with to-go containers of alcoholic beverages.”

The regulations have been amended to provide relief to the alcohol industry while it is unable to operate in full during lockdown.

Some US states are already coming out of their own lockdowns, with restaurants now able to take bookings.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance for bars preparing to reopen earlier this month as coronavirus lockdown restrictions eased.

WineAmerica discloses how wineries are being “creative” in the face of adversity

The average US winery lost US$51,201 from March 15 to April 15 and expects to lose a further $134,626 in May, due to the latest survey by industry association WineAmerica.

There is some cause for optimism.

Having released bleak figures back in March, the industry association has said the results of its second survey has brought in some more “uplifting” findings.

Last month, WineAmerica revealed that US wineries lost a total of US$40,439,764 in March due to Covid-19, but warned that the figure could be far greater as only 10% of the nation’s wineries responded to the information request.

In its second survey, the industry association found that the average winery lost $51,201 between March 15 and April 15 and expects to lose $134,626 in May if the current situation continues through to the end of the month. Wineries estimate that it will take an average of four months to return to normal business levels.

This survey was returned by 727 wineries in 45 states, a smaller survey sample than the first.

It revealed that wineries have resorted to ingenuity in order to bring in money. The most popular new strategy was offering curbside pickups, with 84% of those surveyed saying they had done this. 63% said they had reduced shipping costs, 60% had offered special promotions, 54% had carried out local home deliveries, and 53% said they’d put out ‘wine club specials’.

28% revealed they had engaged in the growing trend of virtual wine tastings. Just 5% of those surveyed said they hadn’t tried any of these initiatives.

WineAmerica stated that it was “highly likely” that the marketing experience and willingness to adapt will “serve the industry for years to come”.

15% of those surveyed said they had been forced to stop production, however, 62% said that production speed had been reduced due to Covid-19.

Due to the global pandemic, the average American winery had to lay off five members of staff, although a quarter of those surveyed said they didn’t make any job cuts.

As expected, wine tourism has taken a huge hit. The average winery in America has 17,644 annual visitors, with 1,482 expected during the 15 March to 15 April period. Due to coronavirus, visitor numbers were down by an average of 90.5% and tasting room sales fell by 74.5%. However, direct-to-consumer (DtC) sales increased by 8%, with many wineries reporting sales rising by double or triple digits.

WineAmerica president Jim Trezise said that wineries and tourism “have a symbiotic relationship” and described visitors as being “the lifeblood of the industry”.

He said that marketing innovations “have mitigated losses due to closed tasting rooms, but not entirely”.

As some states start to lift lockdown measures, Trezise says WineAmerica is working to develop “best practices for tasting rooms” that will both protect the safety of visitors and employees.

https://wineamerica.org/

Ashes & Diamonds Winery in Napa opens a drive-thru

A winery in California’s Napa Valley has opened a drive-thru service with complimentary caviar when you purchase a case of wine.

Last month, California’s wineries, breweries, bars, restaurants and taprooms were asked to close as governor Gavin Newsom imposed a lockdown across the state to slow the spread of coronavirus.

This naturally is a hammer blow to the value of the country’s wine sector. California makes around 81% of all US wine and is the world’s 4th leading wine producer, according to the California Wine Institute. The state’s wine sector employs roughly 325,000 people, while the 23.6 million tourists who visit California wine regions spend around US$7.2 billion last year.

Thankfully, the measures only apply to tours, tasting activities and events. Wineries are now adapting to the new rules by offering pick-up and delivery services, but some are going the extra mile to stand out.

Ashes & Diamonds winery, located in the Oak Knoll district of Napa Valley, is using booking platform Tock to open up a delivery and drive-thru service to supply locals with the high-end wines in its portfolio and is throwing in caviar as a gift.

Customers can opt for either delivery or drive-through, and reserve a specific time slot, between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m to order a package that includes Ashes & Diamonds wines as well as snacks such as focaccia, locally made cheese and caviar.

The winery’s prices range from US$45 for a 2017 vintage white wine made with Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillion, to $125 for a 2016 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon.

Also, customers who order at least three bottles of wine will get an additional bundle of food, which includes Focaccia, Rancho Gordo bean dip, house-made pickles and locally produced cheese. Those who order at least six bottles will also get a portion of trout roe, and only those who splash out on a 12-bottle case will be given a complimentary 1oz serving of caviar.

On the other side of the pond, in Nottingham UK Castle Rock brewery has also opened a drive-thru service allowing customers to stock up on 5lr, 10lr or 20lr polypins, alongside cases of bottled beer and mini kegs of its session ale.

Craft beer giant Brewdog, meanwhile, has also turned a large portion of its UK bar network into drive thru stations. The brewer has set up a new app, called Hop Drop, which allows people to select their nearest Brewdog bar, choose the beers and food they want to take away, and adding 30% off all orders as an extra incentive.

Sources:  Drinks Business and California Wine Institute