The Food Standards Agency (FSA), part of DEFRA is responsible for enforcing wine laws and regulations in the UK and operates mainly through its Wine Standards Branch (WSB). Every grower or producer will have a local inspector assigned who should be the first point of contact with regard to the law and regulations. Click here for a list of regional inspectors (as at Summer 2018).
The following lists the key forms and processes which growers and producers need to be aware of.
Vineyard Registration: Form WSB13
All vineyards which operate commercially, and all non-commercial vineyards of more than 0.1 hectares, must be registered with the FSA using form WSB13.
Production Declaration: Forms WSB21 and WSB21b
All growers and producers must make a production declaration each year. Completed forms must reach your WSB inspector by no later than 15th January.
All growers and producers must complete and submit form WSB21.
Producers and growers who send part or all of their harvest to another producer must also complete form WSB21b. This form should be used when grapes are:
- sold to another producer
- despatched to another producer for contract winemaking
Form WSB21b should also be used when grapes are:
- treated for uses other than winemaking, especially grape juice
Form WSB12 (Harvest Declaration) is no longer required.
Transporting Grapes: Form WSB15
For all consignments of grapes travelling more than 40km (approximately 25 miles) by road, either for sale, or for contract winemaking, a form WSB15 must be completed and a copy must be sent with the grapes.
Winery Records: Form WSB20
Accurate winery records must be kept detailing all processes and these records must be retained for a minimum of 5 years and made available to Wine Standards on request. WSB20 is an optional winery record form which producers may use but you can use your own paper based or electronic system provided you record the information set out in WSB20 as a minimum, especially in regard to the quality wine schemes.
Deacidification / Acidification
Deacidification of juice/must is permitted without limit. Deacidification of wine is permitted subject to defined limits.
Accurate records of deacidification of both juice/must and of wine must be kept.
Acidification is not permitted under normal growing conditions for Zone A (which includes the UK) and authorisation is needed from DEFRA in order to acidify. Therefore the statement in the PDO/PGI regulations indicating that “Acidification of cuvées intended for the preparation of English Quality Sparkling Wine is permitted up to a maximum of 1.5g/l, expressed as tartaric acid” is only allowed with DEFRA authorisation. WineGB can apply to Defra for authorisation if required by producers.
Enrichment: Form WSB10
Enrichment of juice/must is permitted up to regulatory limits. You must inform your local Wine Standards Inspector at least 48 hours in advance of any enrichment operation using form WSB10, and the details of any enrichment process must be recorded on the day of operation.
Wine Standards also provide a chart (Enrichment Conversion Table) which can be used when checking sugar additions. It shows the weight of sugar needed per 1% increase in alcohol for different rates of conversion of sugar to alcohol. Wine Standards encourage producers to verify the final alcoholic strength of their wines through an independent post bottling analysis by an accredited laboratory.