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HMRC internal manual

Wine Guidance

Production process: what is sparkling wine?

Gases (mainly carbon dioxide) can be dissolved in wine to produce

a sparkling effect when the bottle is uncorked. This is normally achieved either by aeration, mixing with carbonated water or secondary fermentation. This process must be carried out in a licensed winery or in a suitably approved excise warehouse.

Wine is liable to the sparkling rates of duty if it has an alcoholic strength by volume exceeding 5.5% but not exceeding 15% abv and:

  • is in a closed bottle with excess pressure of three bars or more at 20 degrees celsius, or
  • regardless of pressure, is contained in a closed bottle with a ‘mushroom shaped stopper’ held in place by a tie or fastening.

Note. one bar = normal atmospheric pressure (approximately 15lbs per square inch).

ALDA Schedule 1 section 2 provides the meaning of ‘sparkling.