Guidance

Importing and exporting wine

Rules for wine importers, exporters, producers, retailers and distributors.

‘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 can continue using the existing VI-1 arrangements.

Importing wine from the EU to Great Britain (GB)

UK VI-1 certificates are not required for EU wine imported into GB (England, Scotland and Wales) from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021.

Importing wine from the EU to Northern Ireland (NI)

There is no change to the current EU accompanying document arrangements for importing wine from the EU to NI.

Moving wine from NI to GB

There is 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

Importers and bottlers must follow certain rules when labelling wine that’s imported into GB.

Rules for importers

You can use the name and address of an importer that’s based in the EU, GB or NI, on the label of wine marketed in GB until 30 September 2022.

Rules for bottlers

You can use the name and address of a bottler that’s based in the EU, GB or NI, on the label 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’s a proportionate and risk-based enforcement approach for these new labelling requirements in NI. The new approach recognises that businesses need time to adapt to the new rules. This approach is being implemented in a way which supports businesses as they adapt to the requirements over time.

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.

Consignments of wine exported from GB to the EU are subject to EU third country requirements for wine, including having an EU VI-1 for third country of origin wine exports. 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 EU VI-1.

Wine produced in GB and exported to the EU is subject to self-certification rules. These requirements are necessary due to the terms of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and EU. You must complete a self-certificate before exporting wine that’s produced in GB to the EU.

Exporting wine from NI to the EU

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

Moving wine from GB to NI

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

Wine produced in GB and moved to NI is subject to self-certification rules. These requirements are necessary due to the terms of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and EU. You must complete a self-certificate before moving wine that’s produced in GB to NI.

An arrangement is in place which allows authorised traders such as supermarkets and their trusted suppliers to move some goods without the need for official certification until 1 October 2021.

Getting EU VI-1 certification

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) uses 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 also certifies 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 provided for in trade agreements that are concluded 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, 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

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

  • 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’re still able to use the simplified VI-1 for importing wines from Australia and Chile. Wines from the United States of America (USA) can use a simplified VI-1 and US wineries can continue to self-certify their VI-1s.

Rejected goods

If your shipment of wine is prohibited entry at the border of the importing country and you want to bring the wine back to GB for marketing, you should provide the details of the shipment returning to GB to:

If you need help

Contact wine.exports@defra.gov.uk if you have any queries. You’ll receive a response within 5 working days.

Published 31 December 2020
Last updated 24 March 2021 + show all updates
  1. The period in which a UK VI-1 certificate is not needed has changed and is now from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021.

  2. Updated section on moving wine from GB to NI.

  3. Added rules for returning rejected exports to Great Britain.

  4. First published.