A proposed law to force British embassies around the world to buy and serve English and Welsh wines instead of Champagne, Prosecco and Cava is being introduced in the UK Parliament.
Britain’s Diplomatic Service should do more to support English wine – and Welsh wines – at official functions overseas, according to Nusrat Ghani MP. Her Sussex constituency includes several English wine producers.
MPs approved Ghani’s bill to be introduced into the UK’s lower parliamentary chamber, the House of Commons, this week.
She described it as one of the first ‘Brexit bills’, coming as the government prepares to trigger Article 50 and launch the two-year process of leaving the European Union.
‘In a post-Brexit world, we must do all we can to get behind industries that show the sort of potential of our wine industry,’ said Ghani.
But, the bill would probably need government support to make it into law.
‘We are delighted that this subject is being debated in Parliament,’ said Barry Lewis, CEO of United Kingdom Vineyards Association.
‘English wines seldom feature on the diplomatic service wine list, and it stands to reason that as the representatives for the UK around the world, embassies and high commissions should as a matter of course buy in English and Welsh wines for their functions,’ he said in a statement published on Ghani’s website.
Homegrown wines are already a strong feature at government events in London.
Figures from the UK government’s hospitality cellar show that more than 350 bottles of English and Welsh wines were opened at official functions in the 2015 to 2016 tax year.
English wine is an official reception wine, while other bottles opened for guests during that period included Ridgeview Grosvenor Brut 2009, Breaky Bottom Brut Reserve and Camel Valley Brut from the 2008 vintage and Nyetimber Classic Cuvee 2007.