In our last Exporter News, we provided advice on how to indicate the details of the importer on a wine label once the United Kingdom (UK) has departed from the European Union (EU) (see article here).
Although that advice remains current, it is no longer the case that the UK left the EU on the date identified in that article. The deadline has been extended until 12 April 2019.
Another matter has emerged since the publication of our last newsletter. The UK has introduced its own version of the VI-1 document required to accompany most shipments of wine into the EU. Its certificate is essentially the same as the existing version but with references to the EU replaced with references to the UK.
Although these changes appear minor they would have caused significant problems for Wine Australia’s existing system for automated production of these documents. We have been advised that Australian wine shipments to the UK can continue to be accompanied by EU ‘branded’ VI-1 forms at least until our automated system can be amended in July.
Questions have also arisen regarding the issue of VI-1 forms following ‘Brexit’ for shipments of Australian wine that have entered the UK en-route to subsequent sale to markets in the remaining 27 EU member states. Such indirect shipments could involve bulk Australian wine, packaged in the UK prior to trans-shipment or, more simply, to packaged wine that is split from a UK-bound consignment and on-sold to European markets. It is estimated that at least 100,000 such transactions occur annually.
The agency responsible for issuing VI-1 documents in these circumstances would probably be the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA). However, it is likely that the original ‘EU VI-1’ that accompanies the wine from Australia would be sufficient in the case where the wine is packaged in Australia. In the case where Australian wine is packaged in the UK, the document issued by the FSA could at least include the chemical analysis presented on the original certificate issued by Wine Australia and thus avoid the need to replicate this analysis within the UK.
Wine Australia will attend meetings of both FIVS and the World Wine Trade Group in London in early April. The venue for these meetings has been selected precisely because of the uncertainty surrounding the conditions under which the UK will leave the EU. We intend to obtain further clarity for Australian wine exporters both from attendance at the meetings and through discussions with relevant agencies in the margins of these events and we will provide updates to exporters.