- Labeling Requirements
- EU Standards of Fill
- Oenological Practices (Winemaking Standards)
- Required Documents
- Import Procedures
The following information must be present on the label:
- Product type (Trademarks, brand names or fanciful names may not substitute the generic/product name, but may be used in addition to the product name)
- List of ingredients preceded by the word “Ingredients”; must show all ingredients (including additives) in descending order of weight as recorded at the time of their use in the manufacture and designated by their specific name. In the case of those products that may contain ingredients liable to cause allergies or intolerances, a clear indication should be given on the label by the word “contains” followed by the name of the ingredient. However, this indication will not be necessary provided the specific name is included in the list of ingredients.
- Net quantity in metric units (liter, centiliter, milliliter)
- Date of minimum durability – not required for wine and beverages containing more than 10% alcohol by volume
- Special conditions for keeping or use (if applicable)
- Name or business name and address of the manufacturer, packager or importer established in the European Union
- Country of origin or provenance
- Alcohol content for beverages containing more than 1.2% by volume
- Lot identification with the marking preceded by the letter "L".
For further information, please refer to Directive/2000/13/EC (PDF).
Language requirements: With the exception of allergen information, which must appear in English (U.K. or U.S.), the labeling requirements above may appear in one or more official languages of the EU.
For more information on labeling specific to alcohol beverages, please visit the Europa website.
The following must appear on a label in a single field of vision (e.g., can be viewed without having to turn the bottle), except for the Importer’s details, the Lot number, and allergenic ingredients.
- Class/type of wine
- Appellation of origin or name of protected designation of origin/geographical indication
- Country of origin (e.g., “Product of …”)
- Alcohol content
- Bottler/producer information – name and address
- Importer information – name and address, preceded by the word(s) “Importer” or “Imported by”
- Sugar content (if sparkling wine)
- Allergenic ingredients (e.g., “Contains sulphites”)
- Lot identification with the marking preceded by the letter "L".
- Vintage year (at least 85% of the grapes used to make the product must have been harvested in the year in question)
- Grape variety
Allergen Labeling for Wine:
Allergen labeling rules apply to beverages containing more than 1.2% by volume of alcohol. Alcoholic beverages containing sulfur dioxide and sulphites at concentrations of more than 10 mg/kg or 10 mg/liter must be labeled “Contains sulphites” or “Contains sulphur dioxide”. Replacing the word “sulphites” with “SO2” or “E220” is not allowed. For more information, refer to Directive 2003/89/EC (PDF), amending Directive 2000/13/EC.
Processed wine from organic grapes must be produced in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 and Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 (PDF). Label references for such wine must be indicated in terms of ingredients – e.g., “Wine from grapes from organic cultivation” and may not be referred to simply as “organic wine”. Wine labels may also include claims (such as “bio-dynamic”) as long as such a term does not mislead consumers.
Wine products may not include the EU organic production logo referenced in EU legislation on their label.
Genetically Modified (GM) Food Labeling:
Food products containing or consisting of GMOs, produced from GMOs or containing ingredients produced from GMOs must be labeled in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 (PDF).
For more information, visit the U.S. Mission to the EU FAS website for up-to-date information on GM regulations and labeling.
The Annex to Directive 2007/45/EC (PDF) sets out general standards of fill for wine and distilled spirits. Please note that this Directive does not apply to pre-packaged products sold in duty-free shops for consumption outside the European Union.
A chart derived from this Annex outlining the standard of fill requirements can be found here.
On March 10, 2006, the U.S. and EU signed the Agreement between the United States and the European Community on Trade in Wine. The agreement provides for the recognition of each other's existing current winemaking practices, as well as a consultative process for accepting new winemaking practices. As such, the EU must allow entry of U.S. wine products made in accordance with U.S. winemaking standards into the EU.
Accepted EU enological practices and process are outlined in Regulation (EC) No 606/2009 (PDF). The Regulation also contains a list of restrictions and requirements pertaining to the use of certain substances authorized for oenological purposes.
The following is a list of the documents that are required and/or recommended when importing alcohol beverages into the United Kingdom or any other EU member state:
- Commercial invoice
- Customs Value Declaration
- Freight Insurance
- Freight documents
- Customs Import Declaration (SAD form – a common import declaration form for all EU Member States; must be drawn up in one of the official languages of the EU)
- Packing List
- Certificate of Origin
- Insurance certificate
- Simplified Export Certificate (for wine only) – refer to TTB Industry Circular 2007-2 for more information
An Import License is required for wine shipments larger than 3,000 liters (30hl) imported from “third countries” (such as the U.S.) into any EU member state. Such import licenses are issued in the UK by the Rural Payments Agency. Contact information for this agency can be found in the Contacts section at the end of this document.
You must also register beforehand with the Rural Payments Agency as an importer if you plan to import goods for which you need a license (i.e. fermented beverages/wine).
An “Application for new registration” (form TR1) must be filled out and sent to:
Customer Service Centre
Rural Payments Agency
PO Box 1058
Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE99 7YQ
You will then be granted a reference number, known as a trader registration number, which will be granted in an electronic format. If you plan to use this number throughout other EC countries, you must indicate you wish to be granted a paper permit.
For more information on this process, please visit the RPA site and click on the PDF file to download.
An import declaration is required for goods from third countries such as the U.S. When goods are imported into the UK, it is the responsibility of the importer or his authorized agent to declare them to Customs. A Single Administrative Document or SAD is used for this purpose. This is the approved form for the import declaration process. Further information on the SAD can be found on the EU website.
The Single Administrative Document (SAD) may be submitted to Customs, either through physical means or through an electronic declaration.
Goods are released from Customs for “free circulation” once the pertinent documents have been filed and payment of tariff duties has been completed. After paying the value added tax (VAT) and any other applicable excise duty, goods are also released for consumption and ready to be marketed.
Wine-specific Import Requirements:
Third Country (e.g., U.S.) wines imported into the European Community must also be accompanied by a simplified export certificate or VI1 document until such wine is put into free circulation.
For more information on the simplified export certificate, please visit the VI1 Forms for Exporting Wine to the European Union section of our Export Documents page.
Further information on EU import regulations for wine can be also found on the U.S. Mission to the European Union website.
The United Kingdom is a member of the European Union and shares the Common External Tariff regime. EU duties are charged by Customs on the CIF (cost, insurance and freight) value of the product imported into the UK.
Value Added Tax (VAT) is an indirect tax on goods and services which is borne by the end consumer and applied to the value added at each stage of the supply chain.
For the most current tariffs and taxes applied to imported products in the UK, please visit the EU Tariff and Taxation Union TARIC database. Once on the TARIC website, you must follow the prompts to find the applicable tariffs/taxes for your product.
U.S. Embassy, London
Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)
24 Grosvenor Square
London, WlA 1AE
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7894 0464
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7894 0031
HM Revenue and Customs
United States Mission to the European Union, Office of Agricultural Affairs
Food Standards Agency
Rural Payments Agency
The information in this guide was obtained from external sources, including the websites of various governmental agencies and organizations, direct contact with those agencies and organizations, and from Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Attaché reports. Consequently, the accuracy of this information depends upon the accuracy of the sources.
TTB is not responsible for the content of external websites.
This page was last reviewed on August 17, 2010.