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Britain after Brexit

Member exclusive by Eshe Nelson for Britain after Brexit

Jonny Wren specializes in Europe. To be precise, he specializes in European wines from lesser-known regions, like wines using the Vermentino grape, which is popular in Sardinia; or Priorat wines from Tarragona in Catalonia; or Primitivo, a grape found in the southern Italian regions of Puglia and Campania.

Based in Dover, on the southern coast of England, Wren set up his business, Songbird Wines, five years ago selling wines to restaurants and bars in Kent and the southeast of England. Almost everything he sells is imported, with just a handful of places in Kent purchasing local wines. It’s a situation replicated all over the country; 99% of the wine consumed in the UK has been imported. “I’m a Europhile when it comes to wine,” the 47-year-old said.

Like every business in the UK with a connection to the rest of the continent, Brexit has thrown a hurdle into his path. It’s too early to tell what the UK’s future relationship with the EU will look like and what impact that will have on the UK. The Bank of England, the Treasury department, and various think tanks have all run scenario analyses to try and figure it out, but the scope of outcomes vary significantly. They all agree on one thing, however: The UK will be poorer for leaving the EU.

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