BOSTON (CBS) – Enjoy that glass of wine while you can, because there’s a chance of extreme sticker shock if the Trump Administration imposes a 100% tariff on European wines. It’s all part of a continuing trade war with the European Union. And that has stores, restaurants and customers in a panic.
“I think it’s misguided. I think it’s myopic. I think it’s anti-democratic,” said Mike Dupuy, the owner of Streetcar Wine & Beer in Jamaica Plain.
“I don’t know who they think they’re hurting. They’re hurting people like me,” added Jennifer Scott, the owner of Taste Wine Bar & Kitchen in Boston.
A 100% tariff, if fully implemented, means prices double. “To have something like this, that takes glass pours that would be in the teens, to be over $20, $30 a glass would just devastate this business,” Scott said.
The Trump Administration proposed the tariffs in a trade dispute with Europe that actually involves airplane subsidies. The idea is to punish the European Union by hitting other products they export.
At Streetcar Wine, 80% of the wine they sell comes from Europe. The tariffs would price them out. “It would kind of gut the store,” says owner Mike Dupuy.
Wine importer Martin Langer from Oz Wine Company, based in Massachusetts, made his usual stop at Streetcar Tuesday. He’s concerned that big tariffs would actually keep some wines out of the country. “If tariffs up to 100% are enacted, that would basically halt our ability to import European wine,” he said.
Everyone WBZ talked to said the impact would go beyond stores and restaurants. “It’s about the tens of thousands of American businesses that rely on the American importation of European wines, and the thousands and thousands of employees whose jobs are at stake,” Dupuy said.
The administration imposed a 25% tariff on European wine back in October. There’s no timeline for making a decision about expanding those tariffs to 100%. If it happens, tariffs would hit wines from France, Italy, Spain and the rest of the EU.