If your instinct is to rush off this afternoon and stock up on wine before the VAT increase comes in tomorrow, hold your horses. The increases really aren’t that big. I got my husband, who is considerably more mathematically minded than I am, to work out the increase on a number of popular price points and these are the figures he came up with:
A £3.99 wine will go up to £4.08 (i.e. an increase of 9p), a £4.99 one to £5.10 (+ 11p), £5.99 to £6.12 (+ 13p), £6.99 to £7.14 (+ 15p) and £7.99 to £8.16 (+ 17p).
Of course it’s perfectly possible that retailers will take the opportunity to hike prices further to reflect other costs but equally likely that they - or the supermarkets at least - will continue to put a large selection of wines on special offer. As we’ve seen in the run-up to Christmas wine is a major battleground in the supermarket price war.
There is of course another way to keep the cost of your wine-drinking down which I've suggested in my Guardian column this week. Which is to drink the wine you normally drink, just rather less of it. I'm not taking a moral line on this just pointing out the financial (and health) benefits!
I've also spotted that quite a number of wine retailers aren't increasing their prices til the end of the month including Majestic and Great Western Wine. Yet another reason for keeping calm ;-)