UK prime minister Theresa May plans to trigger Article 50 on 29 March. Nothing is certain after that point, and it's not as if no one ever crossed the English Channel prior to the EU, but if you're a British wine lover living in the UK then here's a few things that you could try out before the country plunges into Brexit.
Tick off as many EU wine regions as you can
How many wine regions have you visited in the European Union? If your bank account can stand up to the pitiful sterling-euro exchange rate, then you’ve got 18 months to two years to tick off as many as you can before you might have to consider some form of tourist visa form-filling.
Sail through customs, hire a vintage car with your EU-valid driving licence and hit the road…
Write a novel in a Tuscan villa surrounded by vineyards
You could even see out the last months before Brexit by living on the continent. If you’ve always flirted with a desire to write a best-selling novel in the Tuscan hills, fuelled by a few glasses of Sangiovese, then now is the time to do it with no questions asked. Obviously, it’s likely to be a massive drain on your finances, your communication will be limited if you don’t speak Italian and the book probably won’t even cover your return flight even if you finish it. But, just picture the scene…
NB: You can’t rent the one pictured above.
Put yourself to work in a French vineyard – or a wine bar
Grape picking is not for the faint-hearted, but it’s currently possible for UK nationals to work in the European Union in full daylight without having to worry about whether your work permit papers are still in your back pocket.
Many of the larger wine estates in established regions bring in dedicated teams of skilled pickers, rather than letting loose a bunch of tourists. But, there’s a few opportunities out there for beginners and also for those with limited experience. The French employment website might be a good place to look.
Alternatively, and perhaps more realistically, see if you can get casual work in a wine bar or shop.
Bring back a case of wine across the English Channel
UK nationals don’t pay duty tax on wines they bring back from other EU countries. You can bring back up to 90 litres of wine duty-free, equivalent to 120 bottles. It’s possible that the UK will end up staying in the customs union, but Theresa May’s willingness to quit the single market means it is far from certain.
The exchange rate may not be in Britons’ favour, but at least you can take advantage of rock-bottom tax in some countries, such as France, and potentially get more choice.
And wine prices are going to rise in the UK this year anyway, because of weak sterling, according to trade leaders.
Study wine in Europe
The European Union runs an extension of its EU student Erasmus programme called Erasmus+. This includes Masters courses and post-graduate qualifications in a range of subjects, including wine tourism – split between institutions in Spain, France and Portugal. There’s also a wine making Masters course for science graduates, according to the catalogue.
More on Brexit:
Buyers in US, Asia and Europe eye wine deals...
Sharp drop in October...
What does Brexit mean for everyday supermarket wine prices?
Find out what Bordeaux is thinking...
What did we learn?...
British officials want share of EU assets, says report...