Winemakers at odds over impact of new vino-tax

'This new tax is a knock-out to the local wine industry,' George Delicata, owner of Emmanuel Delicata Winemaker Ltd says. 

There does not appear to be full consensus amongst wine producers over the introduction of a new wine tax as announced in last week’s Budget 2015 speech.

Wine, the only alcohol that has never been taxed in Malta, will now be subject to 20c tax per litre.

The government is expected to reap around €2 million through this new tax.

“This new tax is a knock-out to the local wine industry,” George Delicata, owner of Emmanuel Delicata Winemaker Ltd said.  “17 countries in Europe, including wine-producing Mediterranean countries like Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Cyprus, do not have a tax on wine. Most of the countries that do tax wine aren’t even wine-producing countries. For example, while Ireland imposes a high tax on wine, it is a beer-producing country and imposes a low tax on beer.”

“This new tax will affect the primary agro-producers, the Maltese farmers, our vineyards alone employ around 300 farmers” Delicata said. “It will also harm tourism.”

“It would have made more sense if the tax was imposed on spirits that aren’t produced in Malta.”

Delicata added that this new tax will deal a further blow to the local wine industry, following the lifting of levies of foreign wines following Malta’s accession to the European Union in 2003.]

“If the cost of wine is too high, people will stop buying it,” Joseph Cardona from Ta’Fokkli Estates said.

Read the full report in MaltaToday

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