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With Tariffs Looming, Imported Food, Wine Face 25% Markup

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- Starting next week, shoppers could start paying more for things like cheese, Scotch and wine.

A 25% tariff on certain European goods takes effect next Friday as retaliation for a long-running dispute.

In MoneyWatch, WCCO's John Lauritsen explains what this means for wine lovers in our state.

Thomas Liquors in St. Paul is entering that time of year when wine sales really start to increase, but with tariffs looming, it could soon experience a different kind of hangover.

"These are classic French wines -- Bordeaux, Beaujolais -- all of these regions are affected. The wine just becomes out of touch for a lot of potential buyers, which is unfortunate," Thomas Liquors' Peter Vars said.

The 25% tariffs target European wines with less than 14% alcohol, including non-sparkling, bottle wines that you find in liquor stores across the state.

"A lot depends on the sales and distribution chain and how it breaks down, but when the tariffs go into effect, it's quite possible a $15 bottle of French wine can jump to $20," Vars said. "I would expect that as a consumer, you'll start to see that effect as early as Nov. 1."

Will Bailey is with the Wine Company -- an importer and distributor that works directly with winemakers all over the world.

"It's family farmers who we work with in France and Germany and Spain and this is their livelihood. And they certainly aren't in position to say we'll take 25% less to hold prices stable," Baily said.

He's hoping a new trade deal is reached before the holidays, but he's not optimistic.

"The good news is it's a delicious wine, the bad new is 25% is a lot of money," Bailey said. "It's a targeted thing where they are trying to pick categories from all the countries that are trying to hit. It's a lot of pain and trickiness for everybody."

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