Wednesday, January 8, 2020


Dear Friend of The Wine & Cheese Place, 

On October 18, 2019, the U.S. announced 25% tariffs on certain E.U. produced wines, spirits, and cheeses.  On December 12, the U.S. announced that tariffs of up to 100% may be levied on all E.U. produced wine, whiskey, cheese, olive oil, and other gourmet items in response to unrelated trade practices conducted by the E.U. regarding the aerospace and internet services industries.  These tariffs threaten the survival of all Missouri based retailers, importers, and distributors of wine, spirits, and cheese.  

The U.S. is set to determine whether to implement the up to 100% tariff increase later this January and the tariffs could go into effect as early as February.

The tariffs are paid by U.S. importers, not the E.U.  As a result, we expect that substantially all imports of E.U. produced wine, spirits and cheeses will effectively stop should the existing tariffs be significantly increased.  We already know of one importer who has laid off workers as a result of the current tariffs and plans to shutter the business they created more than three decades ago if tariffs are increased.

Prices will increase on both domestic and foreign wines, spirits and cheese as imports fall and supply for imported items and like domestic products runs thin.  We have already been informed that certain U.S. bourbon producers are planning to raise prices and Scotch whiskey wholesale prices for Q1 2020 have increased significantly over 2019 levels.  

The outcome of additional tariffs on Missouri business will be the bankruptcy of small importers, distributors, and retailers and increased power of major corporate entities, many owned by non-Missourians.  These large corporations will sweep up the market share of small business owners who grew successful companies in a competitive market through hard work, risk taking and perseverance.  Consumers will end up paying more for less variety and impersonal service.  

The Wine & Cheese Place enjoys a large inventory of wines and spirits and has the knowledge and experience to source non-tariffed items that will appeal to our customers.  We therefore are confident that, in our 38th year of operations, we will successfully navigate our customers towards wines, spirits, and cheeses that appeal to them at their desired price points, regardless of country of origin.  However, the disruption these potential tariffs pose to our business is troubling and we want to keep the St. Louis wine, spirits, and gourmet scene as vibrant and competitive as ever.  Therefore we are asking our customers to help our company, and countless other Missouri-based companies, by buying from small, local wine, spirits, and cheese purveyors.  

Should you want to register your opinion on this matter with the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, we urge you to do so by clicking this link:  Also, please reach out to your elected representatives to share you concerns. 

Thank you for your patronage.  We  looking forward to serving you for many years to come.

Vijay Shroff

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