//Notable Policy Developments Around the World – 24 September 2019

Notable Policy Developments Around the World – 24 September 2019


We share below recent developments. As always, we rely on FIVS Members to apprise us of noteworthy matters. Please contact the FIVS Secretariat with items you believe may be of interest.


  • BRIT/FIVS International Sustainable Winegrowing Competition – Sign Up!: The 2020 BRIT/FIVS International Sustainable Winegrowing Competition is currently open! The competition application consists of 20 high-level self-assessment questions in which applicants describe their organisation’s conservation efforts in the vineyard and in operations. The resulting awards honour wine organisations from around the world that take a leading role in implementing sustainable practices. Download the application form HERE. FIVS Members are encouraged to participate or to share this information with others in the industry! For more information, please contact Chris Chilton or Laura Gelezuinas.
  • United States – Sonoma County Winegrowers Go Sustainable: FIVS Member, Karissa Kruse, President of the Sonoma County Winegrowers, announced that Sonoma County now has a record-breaking 99% of its local vineyards certified sustainable. This development has shown that the Winegrowers realised the promise made in 2014 that its 1,800 winegrowers were committed to being the United States’ first 100% certified sustainable wine region by 2019. Ms. Kruse further announced that the Sonoma County Winegrowers will continue its leadership in the area of sustainability by being an exclusive participant in the innovative California Land Stewardship Institute’s Climate Adaptation Certification Program.


  • Russia – The Health Ministry Issues Responsible Consumption Guidelines: The Ministry of Health has issued responsible consumption advice reportedly for the first time. Among other things, the guidelines suggest that men should not drink more than three standard drinks a day and that women should drink no more than two standard drinks. The guidelines also observe that alcohol consumption does carry slight health risks.
  • WHO Opines on Alcohol Beverages: On 16 September 2019, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus opened the 69th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe. While citing some progress, he observed that the next WHO/Europe Regional Director and European Member States should address the effects of tobacco use, harmful alcohol consumption, and un-vaccinated children.


  • Global Wine Trends: This article discusses how wines of different countries are faring in the international marketplace. It notes that while French wines have the “pole position” (in terms of value), wines from other countries, such as Italy, are increasingly in demand.
    • Worldwide – Alcohol-free Spirits on the Rise: The New Yorker Magazine has published this article which describes the increasing popularity of non-alcohol spirits, focusing on one brand that is increasingly used in cocktail bars and restaurants around the United States.
      • Ireland – Non-Alcohol Trends: This article discusses how alcohol-free beer is now the fastest-growing product in the Irish drinks industry and how alcohol-free bars are opening in Dublin.
    • Nordic Countries – A Report on the Alcohol Markets: This e-mail links to a recently released report on the Nordic alcohol market published by Alko – the Finnish retail monopoly. This report, which is published annually, offers facts and figures on alcohol policy and alcohol consumption in the Nordic countries.
  • Japan Will Eliminate Tariffs on U.S. Wine Imports: According to Nikkei, the current 15% tariff on U.S. wine imports will be phased out within five to seven years as part of a bilateral trade pact. The move is expected to reduce the costs of U.S. wine by about 13% for distributors and will reportedly make U.S. wine imports approximately 10% less expensive under the deal. This agreement follows a deal that came into force in February 2019 between the European Union and Japan, which eliminated tariffs on European wine.
  • South Korea – Possible Discriminatory Recycling Regulation: South Korea recently notified the World Trade Organisation about a potentially discriminatory draft regulation on recycling. Under this new rule, the South Korean Government would rank food containers from “acceptable” to “not recyclable.” Containers would be judged according to the least recyclable element; for example, a glass bottle with an artificial cork would be classified on the basis of the cork. The Asia Pacific International Wines and Spirits Alliance (APIWSA) has provided the following helpful summary.
  • United Kingdom – A New Trade Pact: The United Kingdom is continuing to make trade agreements in anticipation of leaving the European Union (EU). This new trade deal provides for businesses to continue to trade on “preferential terms” with South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Eswatini, and Mozambique. Without this pact, Irish whiskey from Northern Ireland would face a post-Brexit tariff of 154 cents per litre (plus additional taxes) in South Africa.
  • United Kingdom – Crashing Out of the EU Will Have Its Costs: The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has stated that a “No Deal” exit from the European Union could result in a dramatic increase in paperwork for wine imports and exports, translating into a considerable financial cost for the trade. This announcement has its roots in an apparent agreement reached earlier this year between the WSTA and UK Government Officials in which it was agreed that paperwork on wine imports could be held off for up to nine months if Britain left the EU with no trade agreement. This arrangement would have afforded the trade sufficient time to develop workable and cost-free import rules. Regrettably, the WSTA said it has learned that government ministers are reportedly planning to ignore this agreement — a move which the WSTA’s chief executive Miles Beale has termed a “real blow” for the industry.
  • United Kingdom – Scottish MUP Should be Applied throughout the UK?: The British Association for the Study of the Liver recently announced its evaluation of the Scottish Government’s £0.50 minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol, which was introduced in May 2018. Among other things, they cited figures which indicated that alcohol-related deaths in Glasgow had dropped by 21.5%, from 186 to 146, between 2017 and 2018. They cited these and other determinations to call for extending MUP throughout the UK.
  • UPDATE: United States – Objectionable Pennsylvania Flexible Pricing Rules: On 19 September 2019, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Liquor Control Committee voted 15 –10 in favour of repealing the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s “flexible” pricing policy and reinstating the prior transparent standardised product mark-ups for wine and spirits (see also the Committee vote summary). This vote followed a public hearing by the Committee on the relevant legislation that would, if passed, repeal the applicable flexible pricing authority. The Bill will now move to the full Pennsylvania House of Representatives for debate and a vote, and then, if successful, to the Senate.
  • Wine By Numbers – New International Wine Trade Numbers: In September 2019, Wine by Numbers released its quarterly statistics from January to June 2019. Wine By Numbers’s online magazine provides data on the main wine importing and exporting countries. The magazine features key statistics that are pertinent to the international wine industry such as product packaging, variety, volume, and average price. Prior editions of Wine By Numbers are available on its website.