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HMRC internal manual

Wine Guidance

Spoilt wine: destruction


Wine producers have practical control of all aspects of spoilt wine in cases where a proper audit trail exists. This effectively gives wine producers the facility to destroy wine at a time and place of their choosing. However, entitlement to reclaim duty on spoilt wine will depend on the conditions as described in paragraph 13.7 of Notice 163 (GOV.UK) being met.

Wine producers can destroy spoilt wine directly from the container, either remotely or after return to the wine producer’s premises. They may also collect spoilt wine into a spoilt wine vessel for later destruction. Acceptable methods of destruction include:

  • running to drain
  • the addition of substances which make the wine undrinkable
  • use as animal feed

Officers must be satisfied that the wine is made unsaleable as a beverage. The relevant regulation is 26(1)(b) of the Wine and Made-wine Regulations 1989.

Remote destruction of spoilt wine is permitted, subject to additional conditions, listed in paragraph 13.8 of Notice 163 being met.

Action before destruction

Normally persons destroying wine are required to measure the quantity and strength of the wine and enter the results in a spoilt wine record (WINE03560 ‘Records’ refers) before wine is destroyed. However, there may be occasions when the precise quantity and strength are not known before destruction begins (for example, destruction at a remote site where this requirement may be waived). In other cases there may be adequate commercial records which provide the information required which will allow wine producers to complete the spoilt wine record later than specified times.

Notice of destruction

Advance notice of the date and time of destruction should only be required in exceptional circumstances when there is a real risk to the revenue. If notice is required, the relevant regulations are 26(1)(c) and 27 of the Wine and Made-wine Regulations 1989.

Transfer of spoilt wine into other containers

Where claimants transfer spoilt wine from the containers in which it was returned to another vessel for later destruction, they must complete the spoilt wine record and include its strength and quantity to establish a clear audit trail from the time it is returned until the time it is finally destroyed.

The BEER guidance has an assurance section on spoilt product which details possible risks and any action to be taken. You may find this helpful - BEER17000 refers.