The Chancellor announced a radical simplification of the ‘outdated’ alcohol duty system ensuring higher strength products incur proportionately more duty.
The duty premium on sparkling wines will also end.
Mr Sunak said: “Over the last decade, consumption of sparkling wines like prosecco has doubled. English sparkling wine alone has increased almost tenfold. It is clear they are no longer the preserve of wealthy elites, and they are no stronger than still wines.
“ So I am going to end the irrational duty premium of 28 per cent that they currently pay. Sparkling wines, wherever they are produced, will now pay the same duty as still wines of equivalent strength. Because growing conditions in the UK typically favour lower-strength and sparkling wines, this means English and Welsh wines, compared with stronger imported wines, will now pay less.”
In recent years West Sussex has seen a boom in winemaking and the area, especially in and around the South Downs, is home to a number of world-class brands.
Nick Heasman, a countryside policy manager for the South Downs National Park Authority which helped to lead a major viticulture study this year that looked at the huge potential for grape-growing in the South Downs, said: “The South Downs is rapidly gaining a reputation as Britain’s premier winemaking region and this cut in duty is fantastic news for the region and producers of our wonderful sparkling wine.
“We’re looking towards a low-carbon future and this is a good opportunity for people to enjoy local wine produced right on their doorstep.”
• There has been a 90 per cent increase in vineyard coverage in the South Downs National Park since 2016, with around five new vineyards planted every year.
• There are now 51 vineyards and 11 wineries in the national park, employing 358 people, attracting approximately 33,000 visitors a year and contributing directly around £24.5 million to the local economy and £54m to the wider economy.
Andrew Griffith, MP for Arundel and South Downs, said: “Good news for our local wine industry. In today’s budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a simplified alcohol duty which is fairer for wine growers and craft breweries, cutting duty where alcohol content is lower.”