British wine industry to form pressure group over Government alcohol advertising report

The British wine industry is planning to form a pressure group to pre-empt a Government proposal to crack down on alcohol advertising. This is the first time that the wine industry will have its own independent representation, which in the past has been represented by the Wine and Spirit Association (WSA).

The Government’s alcohol harm reduction report will be published in the next few weeks, and is expected to apply particular pressure on all alcoholic drinks that appeal to the younger market.

The pressure group, called the Wine Trade Action Group, is led by the managing director of Western Wines Michael Paul. He says: “The group will be looking at the Government report and how the wine industry needs to respond to the issue of self regulation. At present we are establishing a working party to look at all issues surrounding the wine industry and hope to put this group together sometime in May.”

According to Paul, more than 20 wine companies, including Diageo-owned Percy Fox, Southcorp Wines Europe and Constellation Wines, are forming the group.However, the WSA maintains that there is no need to form a separate body to represent the wine industry. WSA director Quentin Rappoport says: “The WSA should not be split up. The whole idea is ridiculous. I don’t think that the group will be as effective as the established WSA, which gives a credible voice to the industry.”

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