Image source: https://www.thededicatedhouse.com/what-is-it-about-wine/

This article has been written by Shivani Garg, pursuing a Diploma in International Business Law from LawSikho.

Introduction

Wine! Because no great story started with someone eating a salad. Well, Couldn’t agree any less. Most people believe that if food is the body of good living then the wine is its soul. Enjoying wine is one thing in a country and then there comes doing business in wine another thing. Living in the UK and running a winery is pretty beautiful though. So, are you somebody who wants to turn your love for wine into the source of your income? The only thing that is stopping you from giving a head start to your thought is that you are unable to wrap your head around the rules and regulations existing in your country or something like what all you need to do even to get it started. You need not be worried about your conflicts in mind anymore as I will not only walk you through the regulations that persist in the UK but also let you know about transporting, Intellectual Property, and various other changes that were advised by the UK government. Things don’t stop here, as an Indian, I would love to compare the wine regulations that exist in India with that of UK wine laws. Before we begin our journey, do you know there exists an act with respect to wine to keep things sorted in the United Kingdom? This act is known as The Wine Regulation 2011 (The Wine Regulations 2011 (legislation.gov.uk) ) which came into force on 30th December 2011 which covers basic provisions related to wine in the UK.

How are wines regulated in the UK?

Just like in any other country, the UK follows strict norms when it comes to the production, distribution, and sale of wines across the country as well as overseas. Countries like the UK are obliged to follow EU laws for wine production, distribution, and sale. While EU laws affect all the growers, retailers, and wholesalers of wine in the country, the Food Standards Agency (FSA)  is the authority that is responsible for enforcing these wine regulations in the UK. All these rules apply to three main areas: 

  1. Quality and additives in making different types of wine 
  2. Labeling, and 
  3. Recordkeeping.

Meanwhile, the responsibility for encouraging growers, producers, and traders to comply with laws on wine falls upon the FSA, there are authorities and laws that play an important role equally. In wine production and sale, there are various other laws that govern namely: Tax, Licensing, trademark, trade descriptions, weights and measures, food security, consumer protection, and alcohol duties. Also, one must get the registration done else everything is a waste.

Just in case, you are wondering which authority is responsible for the regulation of wine – regulations on the production and marketing of wine in the EU are enforced in the UK under the Common Agricultural Policy (Wine) Regulations and the bodies that are responsible for ensuring compliance with EU laws are:

  • Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra): The enforcing authority that administers the wine regulations in England and Northern Ireland.
  • Wine Standards Board (WSD): The control authority that enforces the wine regulations in the wholesale sector of the wine trade, including vineyards and wineries. The Wine Standard Inspection Team can be contacted by email at [email protected] or through your regional inspector.
  • Local Authorities: They are not only responsible for new Personal and Premises Licenses from February 2005 but its officers also enforce the wine regulations at the retail level. Further, responsible for Weights and Measures legislation and vineyard off-licenses.
  • HM Revenue and Customs: They are responsible for ensuring that wine is accompanied by necessary documentation at the point of entry to the UK for third country wine, or at the consignees’ tax warehouse for EU wine.

After getting to know about the regulations, the next main thing that is important for any business, even for wine, is transportation. And this shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are rules for transporting wine as well.

What are the rules followed for transporting wine into the UK?

When it comes to the transportation of wine into the UK, there is the “due diligence” procedure that is being carried out under which UK importers and traders are solely responsible for ensuring that wine not only has the correct documents but also conforms to EU rules that are laid down. There exist several key documents and forms, a few of which are:

Once your VI 2 form is completed, it should be retained and presented to the visiting HMRC officers, who will further endorse and stamp the document. You need another document called the Administrative accompanying document which is required by HMRC for the movements under duty suspension for wine from an EU country. Apart from that, there comes the entire guidebook about the movement of wine products into and within the EC which can be downloaded to know about the detailed information.

How is wine regulation in India different from UK laws?

It’s interesting to check out how wine regulations are different in two nations while being not customary to wine i.e. India and others being very much into wine i.e. the United Kingdom. Given below are few pointers which clearly differentiate the laws between the two:

  • There is no exclusive act for wine in India whereas the UK has its own Wine Regulations 2011.
  • The UK is obliged to follow EU laws for wine regulation while in India, there is no such thing.
  • In India, no specific license is required to import wines while in the UK, you need to require a license from local authority trading standards if you intend to sell.
  • While in India, custom duty has been waived on wine, the same exists in the UK.
  • In India, wine policies vary state-wise, the same is not the case in the UK.
  • In India, subsequent to accepting an order from a licensed purchaser/buyer, the licensed merchant/distributor applies for a transport license from the excise office while in the UK, there is the whole procedure so as to get the transporting license for wine as mentioned above.
  • In India, distributors and importers are mandatory to register themselves and in some cases, label the brand with the state excise department for showcasing the label in the state whereas in the UK, the description ‘Wine’ must be shown on the label as the category for wine without geographical designation where the provenance descriptor does not include the term ‘wine’.

Changes advised by UK govt. with respect to wine

The government of the UK advised on changes that should be made for food businesses after 1st January 2021 in which wine business was included as well. These rules are for wine importers, exporters, producers, retailers, and distributors. There are various rules laid down for importing wine to Great Britain but rules that you can’t miss out on:

  • UKVI-1 certificates are not required for EU wine imported into GB (England, Scotland, and Wales) from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021.
  • As per Brexit rules, only 18 liters of still wine and four liters of spirits or nine liters of sparkling fortified wine are allowed to be brought from the EU to the UK for personal consumption without having to pay duty.

The only reason for stating this rule over here is that it concerns both the EU and UK.

Conclusion

Like human beings, a wine’s taste is going to depend a great deal on its origins and its upbringing. Linda Johnson-Bell

It’s amazing to see how deeply the culture of wine is embedded among the people in the country to an extent that the UK not only has the proper act but also various government-approved websites to make the information widely available for everyone with respect to every rules and regulation that revolves around wine like labeling, transportation, licenses, etc. But when we look at all these aspects in a country like India, we can hardly find this kind of descriptive information available. Apart from all the differences mentioned there are many differences that exist between India and UK on this aspect. It comes as no surprise that India doesn’t provide some specific website for detailed information about wine-related regulated while the UK has its own government-approved websites listing all the details that one needs to know about wine laws governing in the country along with the other information required for the business of wine which makes easy for the people. Wine regulations in the UK are far more elaborated and organized than what we find in India.

References

  1.     http://adlib.everysite.co.uk/resources/000/264/146/euwineregs.pdf
  2.     https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/wine-regulations
  3.     https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/wine-regulation
  4.     http://adlib.everysite.co.uk/resources/000/264/150/movementwineeu7mar07.pdf
  5.     Importing and exporting wine – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
  6.     Wine production laws in India | FSSAI Food License |

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