On this page
- What is an alcoholic drink?
- Alcohol labelling requirements
- General labelling rules apply to alcohol
- Labelling rules based on alcohol concentration
- Extra labelling rules for New Zealand grape wine
- Labelling grape wine for export
- Using place names on wine and spirit labels
- Find out more
Labelling rules for alcoholic drinks usually apply to beer, cider, wine or wine product, liqueur, mead, perry, or spirits with more than 0.5% alcohol by volume.
Other rules apply to kombucha, ginger beer, and other brewed soft drinks with no more than 1.15% alcohol.
Follow our guide to help you label your alcoholic drinks.
All alcohol sold in New Zealand, including imported wine, must follow the labelling and composition rules in the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) code.
You need to understand and apply some of the general labelling standards in the code:
- Part 1.2 – labelling and other information requirements
- Part 2.7 – alcoholic beverages.
There are other specific standards for wine labelling and composition:
- Standards 2.7.3 and 2.7.4 – standards for fruit wine/wine product, vegetable wine/wine product, mead, and grape wine/wine product
- Standard 1.3.1 – food additives, which includes specific permissions for wine
- Standard 1.3.3 – processing aids.
Most of the general labelling rules for food and drinks also apply to alcoholic drinks.
Alcoholic drinks, and foods containing alcohol, have many of the same labelling requirements as regular food. However, alcoholic drinks such as beer, wine, spirits, and liqueurs don't require an ingredient list or nutrition information panel. The exception is if a claim requiring nutrition information is made, such as "low carb" or "gluten-free".
Labelling rules on alcoholic drinks vary depending on the concentration of alcohol in the beverage.
Drinks containing 0.5% or more alcohol by volume (ABV) must include information on the label about:
- the alcohol content, and
- a statement of the number of standard drinks (for example, a 750ml bottle of wine of 12.5% alcohol by volume would be labelled as "Contains approximately 7.4 standard drinks").
Drinks containing 1.15% ABV or less must list the alcohol content in words ("Contains not more than x% alcohol by volume").
Drinks containing more than 1.15% ABV must include the alcohol content as a percentage of ABV or ml/100 ml on the label. These cannot be represented as a low alcohol beverage.
All drinks with more than 0.5% ABV must also include on the label a statement of the number of standard drinks.
New pregnancy warning labels
By 2023, all alcoholic drinks containing more than 1.15% AVB must also include a pregnancy warning label.
Health and nutrition claims about alcohol
Food and drink with more than 1.15% alcohol by volume must not make health or nutrition claims on labels or in advertising.
- You may say how much energy, carbohydrate or gluten is in the drink.
- Foods, but not drinks, containing alcohol may make a claim about sodium levels.
- You may highlight the risks of drinking alcohol or recommend drinking alcohol only in moderation.
Low-alcohol drink labels
When labelling and advertising alcoholic drinks, you may say the drink is:
- low alcohol only if it has less than 1.15% alcohol by volume
- non-intoxicating (or similar words) only if it has less than 0.5% alcohol by volume.
If you sell New Zealand grape wine, you need to meet additional labelling requirements for:
- country of origin
- the 85% rule – for any labelling claims that relate to vintage, variety, and area of origin.
Country of origin on wine labels
Wine labels must include the country of origin. If you add grapes, juice or wine from other countries, you must list all countries of origin.
If the wine includes imported wine in the blend, this must be indicated on the label. This is specified in the Wine Regulations 2006. Refer to:
The "85% rule" for grape variety, vintage, and area of origin on wine labels
The rules for label statements about grape variety, vintage, and area of origin are collectively known as "the 85% rule". If a label states the wine is from a particular grape variety, vintage, or area, then at least 85% of that wine must be from that variety, vintage, or area.
The 85% rule applies to wine labelled for retail sale. It does not apply to wine sold in bulk.
You can find more information in the Wine Specifications 2006. Refer to Part 2 – Statements regarding grape variety, vintage, and area of origin.
Wine (Specifications) Notice 2006 [PDF, 69 KB]
Wines that don't have to follow the 85% rule
In some circumstances you do not have to comply with the 85% rule. This exception only applies to wines sold in New Zealand:
- where the label does not have any statement about grape variety, vintage, or area of origin
- which were made in 2006 or earlier – this wine remains subject to the earlier 75% rule for grape variety.
In general, the rules for label statements apply to grape wine made in New Zealand, regardless of whether it is sold in New Zealand or intended for export.
Export wine must meet any labelling requirements of the destination country. Some countries set different percentage requirements for label statements.
New Zealand Winegrowers provides an international wine labelling guide to its members in the members-only section of its website.
There are intellectual property rules if you use place names, known as Geographical Indications (GI), in wine and spirit labelling and advertising.
Before using a place name, check if it's registered in New Zealand.
If it is, you'll need to follow rules to use it.
If you use a place name when naming a spirit, the spirit must have been made in that place and have the characteristics of spirits from that place. For example, a drink called Scotch Whisky must be made in Scotland.
Who to contact
If you have questions about labelling requirements of alcoholic drinks, email email@example.com