Importing and exporting wine from 1 January 2021

Guide

Last updated 30 December 2020

The UK has agreed a deal with the EU. This page tells you the new rules from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.

'Wine' in this guide means alcoholic drinks produced exclusively from the fermentation of fresh grapes, including sparkling and fortified wines (traded on commodity code 2204).

Importing wine that originates in a non-EU country into the UK

Wine imported into the UK that originates in a non-EU country will be allowed to continue using existing VI-1 arrangements from 1 January 2021.

Importing wine from the EU to Great Britain (GB)

UK VI-1 certificates will not be required for EU wine imported into GB (England, Scotland and Wales) from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021.

Importing wine from the EU into Northern Ireland (NI)

There will be no change to the current EU accompanying document arrangements for importing wine into NI from the EU from 1 January 2021.

Moving wine from Northern Ireland to GB

There will be no requirement to provide a VI-1 certificate to move wine from NI to GB.

Labelling wine imported from EU and non-EU countries in GB

You can continue using the name and address of an importer (or bottler in the case of bulk wine imports) that's based in the EU, GB or NI on the label for bottles of wine marketed in GB until 30 September 2022.

From 1 October 2022, wine marketed in GB must be labelled with the name and address of an importer or bottler located within the UK.

Labelling wine in NI

You must use the name and address of an importer (or bottler in the case of bulk wine imports) that's based in the EU or NI on the label of wine marketed in NI.

In line with previous rule changes for labelling, there'll be a proportionate and risk-based enforcement approach for these new labelling requirements in NI. The new approach recognises that businesses will need time to adapt to the new rules. This approach will be implemented in a way which supports businesses as they adapt to the requirements over time.

Exporting wine from GB to the EU

There will be changes to the process for exporting wine from GB to the EU.

The European Commission has granted third country listing to the UK competent bodies for the issuing of VI-1 documents.

From 1 January 2021, consignments of wine exported from GB to the EU will be subject to EU third country requirements for wine, including having an EU VI-1 for third country of origin wine exports (see below).

There are some situations where you do not need an EU VI-1 to export wine from GB to the EU. Check exemptions to the VI-1 below.

Exporting wine from NI to the EU

There will be no requirement to provide an EU VI-1 certificate to export wine from NI to the EU.

Moving wine from GB to Northern Ireland

Goods moving from GB into NI will also be required to meet EU import marketing standards requirements, including having an EU VI-1 for third country of origin wine exports.

There will be a 3-month grace period from certification through to 1 April 2021 for pre-registered authorised traders such as supermarkets and their trusted suppliers from 1 January 2021.

Getting EU VI-1 certification

From 1 January 2021, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will use the EU VI-1 process to certify that third country of origin wine exported or moved from GB to the EU or NI complies with EU regulations.

Defra will also certify that third country of origin wine exported or moved from GB to the EU or NI has been produced using winemaking practices that are either or both:

  • authorised by the EU (or are in the process of being authorised by the EU)
  • produced in accordance with winemaking practices recommended and published by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine

Applying for an EU VI-1
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) are responsible for the inspection and registration of wine exporters.

If you are not currently registered with the FSA or FSS but are intending to export wine to the EU or move shipments to NI from 1 January 2021, email:

You should write 'VI-1 Exporter registration request' in the subject line.

The FSA and FSS usually reply to requests within 20 working days, but it may take longer during busy periods. To make sure you can continue to export or move your wine, you should apply to register as soon as possible.

For more information about registering with the FSA, email wineexportsregistration@food.gov.uk.

For more information about registering with the FSS, visit the FSS website.

WSB number
After registering with the FSA or FSS, you'll receive a WSB number. You'll need to provide your WSB number to Defra when you apply for VI-1 certification.

If you have already registered with the FSA or FSS, you should have received a WSB number.

For more information about WSB numbers, email wine.exports@defra.gov.uk.

Completing an EU VI-1 application
Apply for a pro-forma VI-1 document to accompany consignments of wine:

  • bottled and labelled in the third country of origin, remaining bottled before export
  • exported in bulk from the third country of origin, then bottled and labelled in GB without further processing
  • produced in the EU and bottled in GB

Exemptions to the VI-1

There are some instances where you do not need a VI-1 to:

  • import wine to GB
  • export wine from GB to the EU
  • move from GB to NI

This will continue from 1 January 2021.

You will not need a VI-1 for wines that are:

  • produced in GB – you must instead complete a self-certificate to accompany your export consignment
  • in labelled containers up to 10 litres with a single use stopper, where the total quantity of the shipment (which can be in separate consignments) is less than 100 litres
  • your personal property if you're moving to the UK
  • in the personal luggage of travellers, up to a maximum of 30 litres
  • sent in non-commercial consignments from one private individual to another, up to a maximum of 30 litres per consignment
  • for trade fairs if the wine is in labelled containers of up to 2 litres with a single use stopper
  • imported for the purpose of scientific and technical experiments up to a maximum of 100 litres
  • held in stores on board ships and airplanes operating in international transport
  • originating from and bottled in the UK, exported and then returned to the UK to be sold
  • originating from and bottled in the EU, exported and then returned to the EU to be sold
  • traded for diplomatic purposes in accordance with the Vienna Convention or the New York Convention

You'll still be able to use the simplified VI-1 for importing wines from Australia and Chile. Wines from the United States (US) can continue to use a simplified VI-1 and US wineries can continue to self-certify their VI-1s.


First published 5 September 2020