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Export Market Guide - United Kingdom

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All regulatory information for exporting wine goods to the United Kingdom including the regulatory environment, duties and taxes, and permitted additives.

The Brexit transition period ended on 31 December 2020 and a customs border is now imposed between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU), including Northern Ireland.

Wine destined to be sold in both the UK and the remaining 27 EU states is now effectively being sold in two different markets. This has an impact on certification and labelling requirements for Australian wine sold in and/or exported to the UK.

Member states:

England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland

Regulatory environment

The Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the ministerial department with responsibility for overseeing laws related to wine. The Food Standards Agency is the competent authority responsible for enforcing the wine regulations at the import, bottling, UK production and wholesale distribution stages within the UK. Defra, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and local authorities are also enforcement agencies with the latter being responsible for all enforcement in the retail sector.

Australia and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) launched negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) on 17 June 2020.

Update on Brexit for Australian wine exporters

The United Kingdom formally withdrew from the European Union on 31 January 2020. The transition period ended on 1 January 2021 and a customs border is now imposed between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU), including Northern Ireland.

The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has confirmed that there will be a period of adjustment for all food and drink products, including wine and spirits, from the end of the Brexit transition period to 30 September 2022.

Further details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/importing-and-exporting-wine#moving-wine-from-gb-to-ni 

To summarise, the changes mean that:

  • Wine, spirits and other alcoholic drinks products can continue to be placed on the UK market without changes until 30 September 2022 – but from 1 October 2022 goods sold in the UK must include a UK importer, bottler or vendor address.
  • This only applies to the GB market, and does not apply to Northern Ireland. Goods sold in Northern Ireland will continue to follow EU rules for labelling (meaning the label requires either an EU or NI address).
  • There is no grace period for the EU market. Products placed on the EU market will need an EU address on the label from 1 January 2021.
  • As there is a risk in including two addresses on a label for wine on the EU market, the UK Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) recommends using only one EU bottler or importer address on wine labels destined for both the UK and the EU markets until the end of the transitional arrangements on 30 September 2022.

Whilst the European Commission has unofficially indicated that after the Brexit transition period it will be acceptable to list both a UK importer and an EU importer on labels, provided it is clear which is which and hence not misleading to the consumer, we have not received confirmation on this point. The determination of whether the presentation of importer information is misleading to the consumer is a matter that will be determined by each of the relevant Member State authorities and some may take a more dogmatic approach in their application of the rules.

Application of EU wine regulations in the UK

Although the UK is no longer a member of the EU, in accordance with the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, and the Agricultural Products, Food and Drink (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, EU wine regulations as applied to the UK on 31 December 2020 continue to apply in the UK (‘retained’ EU wine regulations).

Accordingly, wine sold in the UK must comply with retained EU wine regulations.

The retained EU wine regulations dictate:

  • the oenological practices that may be used in the production of imported wine prior to it being imported to the UK
  • the oenological practices that may be used in the production of imported wine within the UK
  • the labelling requirements for wine in the UK
  • rules pertaining to the provision of VI-1 documents for wine imported to the UK. 

UK Government abolished VI-1 documents

 On 1 January 2022, the UK Government abolished the requirement for imported wine products to be accompanied by VI-1 documents. VI-1 documents are still required for imports to the EU – including Australian wine exported from Australia to the UK and subsequently re-exported to the EU. Australian wine exported to the EU from the UK must be accompanied by a VI-1 certificate from the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), which can be provided by DEFRA either after a certificate on analysis is provided to DEFRA, or after a VI-1 “equivalence” certificate issued by Wine Australia is provided to DEFRA.

Wine Australia's Licensing and Approval System (WALAS) is configured to allow exporters to apply for VI-1 equivalent certificates after a ship has sailed that can subsequently be provided to DEFRA, allowing them to generate the certification for the EU (including Northern Ireland). The other option that is available to exporters is to continue to request that WALAS generates VI-1 certificates for every shipment/product traveling to the UK just in case the relevant product is trans-shipped to the EU. 


Import procedures for the United Kingdom Market

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Duties and taxes for the United Kingdom market

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Labelling requirements for the United Kingdom market

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Wine standards for the United Kingdom market

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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.

Levy payers/exporters
Non-levy payers/exporters
Find out more

This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.