Producers need to ensure that they have all the necessary licences and registrations in place to enable them to produce and sell wine. The specific requirements will vary depending on how your business operates and the sections below are intended to help you decide what you need.

However, it is your responsibility to ensure you are complying with all relevant regulations, licences and legal requirements of the enforcing bodies and organisations.


Wine producer’s licence

If you produce wine or made-wine for sale, of more than 1.2% ABV, you must apply for a wine producer’s licence from HM Revenue and Customs and pay Wine Duty. You need to complete WMW1 and send it to HMRC.

View the Excise Notice 163 for Wine Production for details. It explains the effects of the law and regulations for the production, storage and accounting for duty on wine and made-wine.

Licences to sell or supply alcohol

There are three licenses to supply alcohol which you may need depending on how you plan to sell:

  1. Premises Licence - a premises licence authorises the use of a premises for 'licensable activities' as defined in the Licensing 2003 Act
  2. Personal Licence - there must be a designated premises supervisor for every licensed premises and this person must have a Personal Licence
  3. Temporary Event Notice (TEN) - anyone can apply for a TEN which is needed for the sale of alcohol at an event such as a show or market. You do not need a Personal License to apply for a TEN but if you have one you are allowed to make a higher number of applications per annum.

The licensing authority is usually the local council and the law and policy governing this area is overseen by the Home Office. You should contact your local council for advice on the application processes.

Check out the Government guidance on alcohol licensing. There are details on applying for a premises licence, a personal licence and temporary event notices.

Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS)

Do you produce or sell alcohol wholesale?

If you sell alcohol to another business you may need to apply to register for AWRS. This DOES include vineyards and wineries selling to shops, bars, restaurants or other outlets. If you are planning to start a business doing this, you must apply at least 45 days before your business starts.

If you haven’t yet made an application, do it now. There are penalties if you continue to trade without approval.

You will be given an AWRS unique reference number which you must give to your outlets on request and put on your invoices.

Do you buy alcohol to sell to others?

From 1 April 2017, if you buy alcohol from UK suppliers to sell to others, you must check that your supplier has been approved. Ask your supplier to tell you their AWRS Unique Reference Number (URN); they will also show the URN on their invoices.

HMRC have provided an online service of approved wholesalers from 1 April 2017. You should check that your supplier is approved. You should carry out this check, alongside any other checks, as often as you need to ensure you are making alcohol purchases from an approved wholesaler and not just the first time. The online service and guidance is available on GOV.UK.

You need to keep records to prove you have checked that your supplier is approved, so you don’t inadvertently become involved in selling duty unpaid alcohol. You are be able to print or save the details of your check.

Since the 1 April 2017 it is be an offence for you to buy alcohol from an unapproved supplier. You could be liable for a penalty and have your alcohol stock seized.


Wine Duty

Wine Duty becomes payable to HMRC when the earliest of the following events takes place:

  • when it leaves duty suspension for sale on the UK market, including in your own retail premises
  • the wine is consumed
  • you decide you want to pay the duty early, perhaps for accounting purposes – this is called ‘constructive removal’

Customs warehousing

This is for storage of wine with duty suspended, until the wine is moved out of storage. You must be authorised by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to run a customs warehouse.

Note: There is a concession for transporting wine duty free in the UK for UK wineries, i.e. we do not need a movement guarantee to move wine in the UK. However we do need one for the EU and beyond.


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