As we ushered in the new year on January 1, 2024, the wine industry witnessed a significant transformation with the implementation of several groundbreaking reforms introduced by the government. Among these changes, the removal of importer addresses from wine labels stands out as a notable shift that has garnered attention and praise.
Following a public consultation in October 2023, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) made an announcement. The requirement for imported wines to display importer addresses on labels was abolished, simplifying the information presented. Now, only the name and address of the food business operator (FBO) need to be identified on the label. However, in cases where the FBO is located outside the UK, Channel Islands, or Isle of Man, an importer label will still be required.
“Removing the restrictive rules on importer labelling will significantly reduce the post-Brexit impact of having to have a unique UK label,” Beale remarked. “Moving to labeling food business operator should allow one common label for both UK and EU markets, which will maintain the UK as an attractive destination market and support our aim for UK consumers to continue to have access to the widest possible choice of wine from around the world.”
Miles Beale, CEO of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA)
In addition to the alterations in labelling requirements, English sparkling wine producers received welcome news. The distinctive mushroom-shaped stoppers and foil covers on bottlenecks are no longer mandatory, offering more flexibility in packaging. According to Defra, these measures aim to reduce waste and production costs for wine producers.
As the wine industry adapts to these transformative reforms, stakeholders are optimistic about the positive impact on both businesses and consumers. The removal of importer addresses from wine labels, coupled with other forward-thinking changes, signals a dynamic era for the wine market in the United Kingdom.