French wine faces a 100% tariff threat — here's how it would affect you, and why

Friday, January 10, 2020 by Robinhood Snacks |
_Finishing all the Chardonnay before the tariff hits_

Finishing all the Chardonnay before the tariff hits

Cancel Wine & Cheese Wednesday... Your weekly merlot could get way pricier. The wine industry is freaking out over a threat by President Trump to place 100% tariffs on wine imported from Europe. American wine importers and retailers showed up at Capitol Hill this week trying to put a stopper on it. Let's rewine'd:

  • 1st Pour: 25% tariffs imposed in October on some European wines (also Scotch whiskey, Italian cheese, and other goodies). That's indirect retaliation for Europe subsidizing Airbus to compete with America's Boeing. Wine importers/distributors swallowed the cost.
  • 2nd Pour: 100% tariffs proposed in early December on French sparkling wines (including your bubbly rosé). That's a US response to a French digital tax targeting big American tech companies.
  • 3rd Pour: On December 12, American trade reps said the US might expand the proposed tariff to 100% on almost all wines from Europe.

When Trader Joe's pinot costs $60 a bottle... Americans lose out, too. The sobering tariff could mean jacked up prices and slimmer choices for consumers. American retailers that sell European wine will be the biggest losers.


Let it breathe... These tariffs just slap Europe on the wrist. France would lose sales to Americans — you wouldn't splurge $100 for a bottle of Bordeaux that used to cost $50, while the Napa cab still costs $40. The administration hopes the threat of that French export pain will push it to repeal the tax on American tech. But French wine enjoys plenty of demand worldwide, so the tariff could actually backfire.