Freedom and access to verify a WSMP
When wine businesses sign their WSMP outline, they agree to give their verifier:
- access to all winemaking places and facilities, documents, and records
- freedom to examine, mark or identify wine, winemaking inputs, equipment, or other things within scope of the WSMP.
But a verifier does not have the power to remove items from a winery or to stop production.
Operator obligations are detailed in Subpart 2 (clauses 14 to 16) of the Wine Regulations 2021.
Carrying out verification
Verifiers need to be familiar with what's required when:
- meeting with a new wine business for the first time (the start-up meeting)
- deciding verification outcomes, including managing corrective action requests
- handling the WSMP operator's right of review
- doing performance-based verification.
These functions and activities – and what is defined as a new business – are detailed in the Wine Regulations 2021 Subpart 3 (clauses 67 to 70).
Verifiers need to cover certain subjects in the start-up or entry meeting with the wine business. This includes the verification scope.
Outcomes of WSMP verification
At the end of every verification visit, the verifier will give an outcome. It will either be acceptable or unacceptable. The decision is based on objective evidence.
An acceptable outcome is given when the verifier is satisfied the winemaker is meeting:
- New Zealand regulatory requirements
- relevant export requirements.
The wine business may get an acceptable outcome with corrective action that needs to be followed up in a specified time frame. An acceptable outcome cannot be given if there are any critical non-compliances.
When only export requirements are not met
If all requirements are met other than export requirements, it may still be possible for the operator to sell wine in New Zealand. These situations are considered on a case-by-case basis.
For more information, email email@example.com
An unacceptable outcome is when the verifier is not satisfied the winemaker is meeting regulatory requirements. Reasons could be:
- identification of any critical non-compliances
- there are numerous non-compliances that collectively prevent the verifier from having confidence in the operation
- the required records are absent, incomplete, or have been altered to a degree that prevents the verifier from having confidence in the system
- the verifier determines that the WSMP is no longer appropriate to the operation.
A verifier must explain in their report how the evidence shows that the outcome is unacceptable.
Definitions of acceptable and unacceptable outcomes are in the Wine Regulations 2021.
Reviewing an unacceptable outcome
Wine operators can ask for a review of an unacceptable outcome decision. Requests must be in writing and should be sent to MPI within 15 working days after receiving their verification outcome.
Requests can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
What are critical non-compliances?
Critical non-compliances are those that make it reasonably likely to cause:
- hazards in the wine
- false or misleading labelling
- access to export markets to be jeopardised.
Traceability requirements are also essential. Any of the following may result in a critical non-compliance:
- missing records
- incorrect WSMP details.
All critical non-compliances must be reported to MPI within 24 hours of becoming aware of the issue.
Corrective action requests
When a verifier identifies a non-compliance, a corrective action request is issued.
The corrective action will need to be completed by an agreed date.
Sometimes a non-compliance may be identified that is not associated with Wine Act requirements. In those cases, a verifier might make a recommendation. This helps the operator with best practice for meeting a regulatory requirement, or it can help to make compliance easier or more efficient.
How often verifications happen
Verifications for businesses operating under a WSMP range between one and 3 years. If you make wine for export or intend to export, then your WSMP must be verified annually. If you do not make wine for export, verification is based on performance. If you do not make wine for export, verification frequency is based on performance.
Who to contact
If you have questions about verifying a WSMP, email email@example.com