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Ric’s Vinous Musings & Brain Droppings

“It’s about the wine tariffs”

As of October 18th many European wines landing at US ports will be subject to an immediate 25% surcharge. While much of what I have read has been rather ambiguous, some facts seem certain. The tariff applies to some wines of France, the UK, Spain and Germany…the wines of Italy are exempt, but their cheeses, cured meats and some olive products will be taxed.

Sparkling wines, fortified wines, large format bottlings and wines over 14% alcohol are exempt. This situation has left the international marketplace and my suppliers befuddled. One immediate concern is the Beaujolais Nouveau, which are due to arrive here for Wednesday November 20. One of my wholesalers that handles two producer’s Nouveau are working on an arrangement where the producer (who wisely sees no point in holding the wines until the tariffs are withdrawn) and the supplier will absorb most of the extra costs. Most of the rest of the merchants still have little idea of how this is going to be handled. We are on a wait and see basis.

Some more palatable notes of this debacle is that most of the Spanish wines as well as many wines of southern France and even some Bordeaux are over the 14% ABV demarcation. Also, many of the big importing houses have laid in a lot of inventory prior to the October deadline. Hopefully there will be enough to sustain us until craziness ends. You may not want to hold your breath however.


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