The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has said the UK Government has signalled its intention to defer the introduction of forthcoming labelling rules until January 1, 2024. 

The new rules, which mean that wine imported into Great Britain must be labelled with the address of the importer or bottler, or both, were set to come into force on October 1, 2022. 

The WSTA said that “delaying these labelling requirements will mean that EU addresses in relation to the importer or food business operator (spirits and non-wine products), importer or bottler (wine only) will continue to be permitted on the GB market for an additional 15 months. Following formal agreement from both Welsh and Scottish Government, these changes would apply across the whole of GB”.

The trade organisation said that in line with standard Government policy, the proposed measures have to be subjected to a consultation exercise. 

“Unusually, and anticipating that the deferral will not be controversial, the consultation is both short, due to close on 30 August, and limited in terms of those being consulted,” the WSTA said. “The WSTA has been asked to respond on behalf of its members. Submissions from individual businesses are being discouraged to make drawing together the Government’s response as straightforward as possible. The WSTA will support the deferral.”

The WSTA said this announcement will come too late for many businesses that have already anticipated the October 1, 2022 deadline.

“We have made this point to Defra over the course of many months,” the trade association added.