This week’s budget contained mixed news for wine drinkers. On the plus side, the controversial ‘escalator’ price hikes at 2% above inflation have now officially been scrapped. This escalator rate saw the duty on wine increase by a massive 24% in just four years, from £1.93 to £2.40 a bottle, including VAT.

The not so good news is that wine will still go up in line with RPI, the higher of the two inflation indices, which is currently 2.8%. This means that after the increase almost half of a five pound bottle will be tax.

The message to the consumer is clear: if you haven’t traded up already, it’s time to do so. Four years ago drinkers were looking to get a reasonable bottle of entry level wine for £5; they should now be thinking more like £7.

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