Britain's sparkling wine and champagne sales will continue to fizz over the holiday season to break £2bn by the new year.
Twenty million more bottles of sparkling wine were sold in 2016 in the UK compared to the previous year, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) said in its year-end market report.
With 114m litres, or 152 bottles, sold from the beginning of 2016 to part-way through November, more than £1.9bn in sales has already been recorded.
Off-trade sales of sparkling wine grew more than 25 per cent this year in the 12-week period to 5 November, whereas champagne had sales growth of more than seven per cent in the same period.
English wine production is set to double to 10m bottles per year by 2020, WSTA's report said.
English wine only makes up one per cent of the sparkling market – which includes prosecco, cava and others – but by 2022, six British vineyards plan to produce more than one million bottles per year alone.
The taxman took a hefty sum of £714m of the sparkling wine market from VAT and duty. The UK's alcohol industry is the most-taxed in Europe, and its wine duty is the second highest. UK wine drinkers are paying 67 per cent of all wine duties collected by EU member states.
Wine duty in Britain equals £2.67 on a bottle of sparkling wine, whereas in France consumers pay a 5p duty on a bottle of sparkling wine and in Italy there is no duty.
Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA said:
There is no sign of the bubble bursting when it comes to the British drinkers’ love for fine fizz. Wine is now the nation’s most popular alcoholic drink and continues to play an extremely vital role in our pubs, including as part of the broader British food and drink revolution.