Czech Winemakers Propose Minimum Alcohol Price Instead of Excise Tax

Czech winemakers are advocating the establishment of a minimum price for ethanol content in wine instead of imposing an excise tax. This proposal, if implemented, would likely raise the price of the cheapest wines, mainly imported ones. The President of the Czech Winemakers Association, Martin Chlad, and the Minister of Agriculture, Marek Výborný, announced this proposal after a meeting of an interdepartmental group discussing the taxation of still wine.

The proposed minimum price per unit of alcohol in wine would fulfill all requirements that the National Economic Council (NERV) expects from imposing an excise tax. These requirements include higher state budget revenues and lower availability of the cheapest, low-quality alcohol. Chlad, the head of the Winemakers Association, has commented on the main reasons for introducing the minimum price principle.

He added that the proposed measure would not burden either Czech winemakers or the state with new enormous administrative costs. It would also prevent large importers from having the advantage of the cheapest alcohol, and Moravian and Czech wines would continue to fit within the price level of the most sold wines.

The Czech Winemakers Association has long opposed introducing an excise tax on still wine, which enjoys an exemption unlike most other alcoholic beverages. They argue, for instance, that the tax is not levied in other wine-producing countries, and among their neighbors, only Poland imposes it. Contrarily, tax expert Michal Jelínek from the V4 Group consulting company stated that a minimum tax would not simplify the system but rather the opposite.

The discussion about taxing wine will continue in the first quarter of next year. According to the minister, it is still possible to introduce taxation of wine by the end of this electoral term, meaning it would apply from 2025.