The UK restaurant scene is already having to face up to economic problems – but things are set to get a whole lot tougher, warned Liberty Wines MD, David Gleave MW.
‘We have a triple whammy,’ he told Imbibe. ‘We have short vintages around the world, from South America to New Zealand and Europe, we have a duty increase probably coming in November, and then we have the exchange rate.’
Speaking on the day of the Liberty tasting, when the rising cost of imports pushed inflation up to nearly 3%, Gleave was pessimistic about the short and medium-term future.
‘Before the referendum, people said Brexit would be a cliff edge, but it’s not. It’s going to be death by a thousand cuts, with businesses leaving a bit at a time,’ he said.
Vintage wise, Gleave foresees particular problems in Europe. The continent suffered almost universally this year, with frost in the spring likely to see double-digit falls in production, but Gleave believes that Italy in general (and Prosecco in particular), France and Spain will be especially affected.
‘It’s going to put even more pressure on restaurants, which is not what they need,’ he said.