UK-based wine producers have urged the government to scrap plans for a tax rise.

In a letter to the Chancellor and Environment Secretary Michael Gove, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) stated the significant tax burden would restrict growth and damage rural communities.

While this year has seen positive growth for English vineyards due to the heatwave, the WSTA believes that increasing the industry’s tax will hamper future growth, damage exports and limit job opportunities.

WSTA’s CEO Miles Beale said: “English wine is a great British success story and we are now proudly producing top quality wines, which are rivalling the best fizz from around the world.

“A duty freeze would further stimulate our opportunity for export.”

“The knock-on effect of near-perfect growing conditions in the UK has led to high-quality generous grape bunches and many vineyards have experienced their earliest harvests ever.

“With the good weather continuing into October, our English winemakers are reporting a bumper harvest.”

According to WSTA, around 55% of a bottle of wine sold in shops and supermarkets is taken by the Treasury as tax and VAT. A further 3.4% duty increase would mean an addition of another £0.07 on a bottle of still wine and £0.09 on a bottle of sparkling.

Surrey-based Denbies Wine Estate CEO Chris White said: “A duty freeze would further stimulate our opportunity for export. We would like to see the Government adopt a model employed in all other EU countries where the lower duty rate has helped support the growth of their wine industry.”

Last November, the Chancellor froze alcohol duty, which led to an additional £380m windfall between February and July.