The Price of Wine


wine 5.58£5.58: that’s the average price we in the UK pay for a bottle of wine according to a recent survey.  Doesn’t sound very much, does it?  But, look behind that figure and things become a lot more worrying – both for the producer and for those who want a nice glass of wine without paying too much.

For a start, more than half of that price goes straight to the Government in tax; every bottle of still wine has £2.16 duty added to it, whether it retails at £5 or £500 – so it has a bigger impact on ultra-cheapies – and then there’s VAT, which works out at 93p included in the cost of a £5.58 bottle.  The bottle itself, the label, cork or screwcap and transport costs also need to be accounted for, as does a little marketing; say 65p in all for those.  And don’t forget the retailer who will, typically, take about a quarter of the price – another £1.39 out of the total.  A quick calculation and you’ll realise that that leaves a paltry 45p for the wine itself – and that has to cover the costs of a year’s work in the vineyard plus the winemaking.

The one apparent piece of good news for the producer is that this average retail price has gone up 9p a bottle in the past year.  But, No!  8p of that was a tax rise and at least 4p more can be attributed to the drop in the value of the £ against the dollar and the euro since June 2016.  So, in reality, the producer is actually 3p a bottle worse off than before.

And, if all this isn’t depressing enough, these calculations are based on the average price paid – so half of all wine bought in the UK is cheaper than this.  Just how sustainable is that?



About Bristol Wine Blog

Bristol Wine Blog is written by Ian Abrahams, a freelance Wine Educator, trading as Wine Talks and Tastings. Ian holds the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Diploma, a high level professional qualification, and is a certified tutor for WSET. He runs courses for both professional and amateur wine lovers in and around Bristol including at Stoke Lodge (see the Bristol Adult Learning Service brochure or online at You don’t have to be an expert or wine buff to enjoy Ian's courses, so long as you enjoy a glass of wine. Find him also on

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