To say it has been ‘interesting’ to observe the effects of our departure from the EU from the standpoint of an independent wine merchant is an understatement. We have seen both immediate changes in the supply chain and some changes that have taken longer to appear. None of the changes so far have brought benefits to the way in which we operate.
Additional paperwork associated with bringing goods into the UK: while duty and VAT rates in the UK have not changed, the requirement for the production of extra paperwork to bring goods into the UK from the EU has placed an extra burden on the supply chain.
Additional security and import checks at the border: necessary checks and security at the border is having the inevitable impact on timescales for bringing goods into the UK.
There have also been a number of indirect consequences of Brexit in the supply chain, the one that is hitting us the hardest is the shortage of drivers and equipment (containers) to bring wine into the UK.
All of the above issues are driving costs up which we are seeing across all methods of us buying wine. Where we are bringing wine in direct we are being charged more to import the wine than last year; when we buy wine in the established UK wholesale market our buy prices are rising as others strive to cover their increased costs and maintain margins.
Unfortunately the costs are not restricted to EU goods only. Anything coming to the UK through the EU is also affected.
Our commitment to you, our loyal customer base, is only to raise prices when there is a direct increase in our purchase costs. We are not interested in using Brexit as a method of increasing margins. We also recognise that buying wine is almost exclusively a discretionary purchase and we want you to obtain the best possible service combined with great prices. We will do our best to absorb or mitigate as many of the additional costs as possible, but some price rises are inevitable as we continue with Brexit implementation. The most likely time for rises will be the arrival of a new vintage or new wines to the shop.
Thankfully we have a fair amount of stock that was purchased before these additional costs were levied, so we will be able to maintain prices across many lines for some time. Stocks of older vintage wines are mostly purchased in the UK and their price is determined by the market rather than transportation and customs clearance costs. The prices of these wines should not be affected in the short to mid term.
We appreciate your continued support while we all work out the long term implications of Brexit. I hope things will get better as the supply chain adjusts to the new ways of working, I’d like to think some of these additional costs will drop out, but time will tell.