The price of grape spirit used to fortify Port will double as European distillation subsidies are phased out, say producers.

Grape spirit prices increased 50% in 2008 following a reduction in EU distillation subsidies and a small 2007 harvest in traditional distilling regions. 

It is estimated that the increase will raise Port prices up to 8%, with further rises likely. 

Charles Symington, winemaker at Symington Family Estates, told just-drinks today (16 April):  "Spirit prices are likely to go up for the 2009 vintage by another 30% but it will end up 100% more than when it was subsidised."

Adrian Bridge, managing director of the Fladgate Partnership, said: "The distillers understand they can price brandy higher and still get paid. There is not enough competition but in time we will see additional spirit from South America."

A bottle of Port contains 20% grape spirit.