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Wine production

How to submit product declarations and guidance on enrichment, sulphur dioxide and sweetening limits in wine production.
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When making wine you are required to complete product declarations to maintain a record of annual production.

You also need to be aware of enrichment levels, sulphur dioxide limits and sweetening wine.

Important

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched a digital guide covering the key actions food and drink businesses may need to take after the end of the transition period. 

The guide will host the most up to date guidance for wine producers and traders, with changes and additions made as further information is confirmed.

Production declaration

Each year producers complete Production Declarations (WSB21 or WSB21b) to maintain a record of annual production. 

Production declarations should be submitted by the January deadline each year.

If grapes, juice, must or wines are moved for vinification, a Commercial Accompanying Document (CAD) may be required. This requirement is dependent on the distance between the vineyard and the winery. Instructions can be found on the WSB15 form

Product designation

Wines may be marketed as English (Welsh) Quality Wine (Protected Designation of Origin) or English (Welsh) Regional Wine (Protected Geographical Indication) if they meet analytical and tasting criteria and the verification checks of the producer’s winery records by the Wine Standards Inspectors are satisfactory.

Sussex Quality Wine Scheme (QWS) has been given national transitional protection. This means that the term ‘Sussex’ is protected in the UK. Sussex can only be used by producers who successfully certify in the Sussex QWS. Contact your Wine Standards Inspector for more information before use.

Wines may also be sold as Varietal Wine (labelled with vine variety/vintage) only if an application is made to Wine GB.

Enrichment limits

The enrichment level, also referred to as chaptalization, is the amount of sugar added to grape must. This is done to increase alcohol content prior to fermentation. 

Since Autumn 2009, 3% increase in total alcohol is the allowable enrichment limit. If climatic conditions are unfavourable, an additional 0.5% limit can be applied.

The minimum actual alcohol remains 8.5% volume for wine without geographical designation. In effect the minimum natural alcoholic strength is now 5.5%, unless the additional 0.5% enrichment has been allowed. 

The maximum total alcohol level for enriched wines remains 11.5% for white wine and 12% for red and rosé wine. The maximum level does not apply to Quality Wine (PDO).

The FSA no longer requires notifications of enrichment, acidification, or de-acidification.

Sulphur dioxide limits

The maximum levels for total sulphur dioxide are 150mg/litre in red wine.

For white and rosé wines the limit is 200mg/litre. Quality sparkling wines have a maximum level for total sulphur dioxide of 185 mg/litre.

Sweetening limits

There is no differentiation in sweetening provisions between enriched and non-enriched wines.

The total (actual + potential) alcoholic strength of wines may not be increased by more than 4% vol. 

The maximum total alcoholic strength remains 15%, except for Quality Wines (PDO category) which have not been enriched.