Wine consumers will feel the effects of tariffs



The Trump administration's national tariffs on European goods are affecting the only wine importer on the Central Coast, and consumers will feel the effects through price increases.

Ken Jacques, owner of Evaki Imports, said a 25 percent tariff went into effect on Oct. 17 and was immediately imposed on wine shipments en route to his company.

"We do 40 percent of our business in October, November, and December. If you're an importer, the largest amount of wine you're going to have on the water at any given time is that time, so a large number of containers were exposed," Jacques said.

He said the administration put tariffs on wines that are 14 percent and lower in alcohol content. Wines that are 14.1 percent or higher, Champagne, and sparkling water are not affected.

From an importer standpoint, he said the tariff hike is passed directly on to the retailer, which then passes it on to the consumer.

He said depending on the price point of the wine, customers can expect to see bottle prices increase between $1 and $3.

The tariffs are the result of a 15-year dispute between the United States and European countries, where the U.S. accused them of illegally subsidizing Airbus, a European aerospace corporation, which is also Boeing's rival.

The current administration pressed its case to the World Trade Organization, which allowed the tariffs as part of a penalty award. According to the penalty, the U.S. was allowed to impose 10 percent tariffs on aircraft and 25 percent on other industrial and agricultural products from the European Union—including wine, cheese, and olive oil.

Jacques said importers that invest heavily in French and Spanish wines will be affected.

"It all depends on how long it lasts. If it lasts a year, my guess is you're probably looking at somewhere between 10 or 15 percent reduction in sales over the next 12 months, but it's just too hard to gauge this early in the game," Jacques said. "It's going to hurt the importers, and it's going to hurt the consumers; everyone's going to pay." Δ

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