The Trump administration is imposing a 25% tariff on European Union products like Spanish, French, and German wines, and Italian cheeses.
Tariffs are taxes placed on imported products. In this case, starting on October 18, companies will have to pay more to import wine and cheese from certain European countries. In response, retailers usually charge higher prices in stores, so individual American shoppers get charged more.
If you're a fan of chardonnay or cheese plates, here's what you need to know about how tariffs could affect you, and how you can still manage to save money on the products you love.
The items selected for this round of tariffs are "very specific and targeted," says Gary Itkin, general manager and buyer at Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit. They include any still wine from France, Spain, or Germany. So while the price of French champagne won't rise, because it's a sparkling wine, rosé from the Provence region of France will.
The tariff will also be applied to still wine from France's Bordeaux region, known for malbec and cabernet sauvignon, along with wine from the Burgundy region, which includes pinot noir and chardonnay. Other popular, affected wines are Rioja from Spain or riesling from Germany.
Consider stocking up on these bottles now, Itkin says, as prices could rise within the next couple weeks. "On an everyday level, people buy so much rosé and so many lovely white wines like Sancerre," he says. "Those prices will be going up. ... These are wines that typically sell in the $15 to $35 range, so add 25% — that's a big chunk."
Because the composition of wine is so dependent on the environment and soil, finding a true substitute is impossible, Itkin says. But, he says, there are some good alternatives that won't be subject to tariffs. If you're a fan of German riesling, he suggests trying riesling from the Finger Lakes region in New York, like Dr. Frank's semi-dry riesling, which retails for $15.99.
And instead of a Bordeaux malbec, you can try one from Argentina, like Bodega Norton Reserve, which retails for $19.99 at Total Wine.
"Younger, fresher cheeses that are subjected to tariffs will be the first affected by the change. Longer-aging cheeses will take a longer time to be impacted," says Steve Millard, SVP of merchandising and operations at Murray's Cheese, says. "English cheddar and Stilton are two key items that will see price increases coming down the pike."
Italian favorite Parmigiano-Reggiano will also be subject to tariffs, though Millard says he has worked with suppliers to "ensure adequate stock" and stable pricing through 2019 at Murray's.
If you don't want to order from Murray's and prices do go up at your local grocer, you may want to try buying the equivalent from the U.S. state that produces the most cheese: Wisconsin. At Target, a 5-ounce Parmesan wedge from Wisconsin-based company Sartori costs roughly $7.
Instead of English cheddar, you can try Cabot Clothbound cheddar, which retails for about $10 per pound at mercato.com, a delivery service for independent grocery stores. Pecorino from Italy will also be be subject to tariffs, so if you need a substitute you can ask the person at your grocery store's cheese counter to direct you to any harder, sheep's milk cheeses that are made in the U.S.
There's no need to panic, though: "It will take some time for these increases to make their way through the supply chain," according to Millard. So, for now, you can enjoy your Provence rosé.
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