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March 2008

Hong Kong's wine tax abolished

Berry Bros & Rudd is just one retailer reporting an immediate surge in wine sales following the announcement on Wednesday 27th February that Hong Kong's wine tax has been abolished. Berrys' Sales Director Simon Staples says the company had its busiest day for more than a decade. "I don't think I can recall a busier day in 11 years," said Staples, who explains his team has sold more fine wine in the last two days than the previous two months. The extraordinary sales have been put down to expected price rises in fine wine as the demand in Hong Kong will increase dramatically now the
  
40% tax has been axed. During the 2008/2009 budget address, Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang scrapped all the duty on wine and beer, saying that he hoped to create a wine trading and distribution market in the booming Chinese territory.

Planting for an English Future


   Waitrose has announced that it will be the first UK retailer to plant vines in England. The vines will be planted in the next year on the retailers own 4,000 acre farm, The Leckford Estate, in Hampshire. Customers will need to be patient though, as this English Fizz will not debut on the shelves at Waitrose until 2014. English wine is gaining in reputation both at home and internationally, and in 2007 Waitrose reported a growth in sales of over 90%. However, Waitrose say there is simply not enough English wine to meet customer demand - sales growth is outstripping not only supply, but the historical growth of vineyard planting. They also say "To ensure customers can continue to enjoy English wine in the future we are investing now to cope with future growth. It is a long term project - the vines will need three years before we see the first crop of grapes, and then a two year wine-making and maturation cycle for the production of
this high quality sparkling wine." Justin Howard-Sneyd, MW - English wine buyer for Waitrose said: "Our customers are really enthusiastic about English wines and we have seen some fantastic quality from Nyetimber, Ridgeview, Chapel Down, Camel Valley and Denbies. We are all incredibly excited about being involved with the planting of our first vineyard."