Labelling requirements for alcoholic drinks (including wine)
Wine sold in New Zealand, whether imported or New Zealand-made, must meet the labelling and composition rules of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) code and the Wine Act 2003.
General wine labelling requirements
All wine 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/vegetable wine and grape wine/wine product
- Standard 1.3.1 – food additives, which includes specific permissions for wine
- Standard 1.3.3 – processing aids.
Guide to wine labelling rules
MPI has prepared a guide to grape wine labelling requirements:
Grape wine labelling guide [PDF, 869 KB]
Extra labelling rules for New Zealand grape wine
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
All New Zealand grape wine must be labelled with its country or 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:
- Wine Regulations 2006 Clause 7: Country of origin labelling and identification requirements
- Wine Regulations 2006 Clause 8: Grape wine not to be associated with false or misleading labelling .
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.
Labelling grape wine for export
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.