//FIVS Regulatory Principles
FIVS Regulatory Principles2019-12-03T11:00:11+01:00

FIVS Regulatory Principles

Regulatory Principles to Enhance Coherence and to Facilitate Trade in Wine Adopted by FIVS in 2013

In 2013, the members of FIVS endorsed by consensus a set of good regulatory practice principles for wine. It was a ground-breaking piece of work, with the potential to have significant trade-facilitating impacts. After considering these principles, the governments of the World Wine Trade Group (WWTG) endorsed a slightly modified, but similar set in its “Tbilisi Statement” of 2014. Within a few months, members of the FIVS Scientific and Technical Committee, working independently and also in conjunction with participants of the International Wine Technical Summit (IWTS), began producing a series of technical documents related to several of the Principles to illustrate how practical application might occur. Some of these papers have been presented at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) Wine Regulatory Forum (WRF) and one of them (on the microbiological safety of wine) has been endorsed by the governments of the WWTG. In addition, to increase familiarity with the concepts involved, the principles were presented at the International Organisation of Vine and Wine’s (OIV) Congress in Argentina in 2014, and three of the implementation papers have been presented at the OIV Scientific Congress over the last few years (see specific links below).

We are happy to report this activity is ongoing. FIVS has already agreed on a second set of principles and some of these are under consideration and gradually being endorsed by several governments. Further technical implementation papers are being produced by the FIVS Scientific and Technical Committee for consideration within the IWTS. Accordingly, we envisage that this tool will be regularly updated and will comprise a more and more significant body of work on the sound regulation of wine from a technical perspective.

FIVS Regulatory Principles

Principle #1: Avoid the establishment of limits that stimulate costly and unnecessary analyses.

Principle #2: Harmonize limits where there is no scientific justification for national or regional differences.

  • APEC WRF FIVS-Abridge Access Project

    The APEC WRF comprises government officials and stakeholders from 21 economies in the Pacific Rim region. FIVS-Abridge serves as a repository for the APEC WRF Compendia of Regulations on Export Certification, Food Safety, and Labelling.

Principle #3: Give due regard to intergovernmental agreements and work done by other authorities when establishing new regulatory limits.

  • IWTS FIVS-Abridge Access Project

    FIVS-Abridge also serves as a regulatory repository for the International Wine Technical Summit (IWTS), a collaborative group of government and industry representatives who have an understanding of the technical issues surrounding wine production and trade, and work with the aim of trade facilitation.

Principle #4: Adopt a common system of scientific units for expressing regulatory limits.

Principle #5: Express regulatory limits on a “per unit volume of wine” basis rather than “per unit volume of alcohol” in the wine.

Principle #6: Adopt a common way of expressing results where this is done in relation to a single wine constituent (e.g. for Total Acidity expressed in terms of one specific acid).

Principle #7: Consider the establishment of analytical “de minimis” values for substances or classes of substances in wine – values below which they will be deemed to all intents and purposes not to be present in the wine.

Principle #8: Allow suitable transition arrangements when limits are tightened, provided public health considerations so permit, and exempt wine from the requirement to be labelled with an expiration date.

  • Already a WTO requirement, adequate transition arrangements are strongly encouraged by FIVS members

Principle #9: Analyses of wine for compliance purposes should be undertaken by suitably accredited laboratories (or overseen by certified analysts) that perform acceptably for the specific test methods used.

Principle #10: Analytical methods used for wine compliance purposes should be validated and/or have a demonstrably appropriate level of performance for wine.

Principle #11: For wine authenticity analyses, the database of authentic samples with which the test samples will be compared must be sufficiently comprehensive to avoid the miscategorization of legitimate samples as fraudulent.

Principle #12: Laboratories testing for compliance purposes should supply measurement uncertainty information with their analytical results and the competent authorities should take this into account in interpreting analytical data.

Principle #1: In the absence of specific limits for a particular substance in wine, Governments should not apply limits developed for other foods or beverages with different background levels of the substance, production considerations and intake data.


Principle #2: Enforcement activity should not normally be taken on the basis that a wine contains a non-harmful substance at levels which reflect the naturally occurring levels found in wines from the same origin, produced in accordance with good oenological practices.


Principle #3: Enforcement activity should not normally be taken on the basis that a wine contains an adventitious substance at levels consistent with production in accordance with good oenological practices, and lower than relevant limits established from a public health perspective by suitably qualified experts.


Principle #4: Where appropriate, permit the reporting of an analytical result as being below the limit of detection for a method (e.g. <0.05 mg/L), without interpreting this as indicating some presence of the substance in wine so as to trigger a labeling or other regulatory requirement.


Principle #5: The usage level of winemaking treatment agents permitted for wines traded internationally should usually be according to GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) where the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) has set an Acceptable Daily Intake of “Not specified” (meaning there are no known health concerns with the substance). Numerical usage limits should be science-based and established with reference to the recommendations of appropriate international intergovernmental organisations (e.g. Codex Alimentarius Commission, OIV) and should not be more restrictive than these recommendations.


Principle #6: Specify and agree upon a method for referring to winemaking treatment substances in regulations that minimizes or eliminates the possibility of confusion due to the existence of synonyms for those substances.


Principle #7: Those winemaking treatment agents that are naturally present in grapes and/or wine, are actually derived from these sources, and that are used in winemaking solely to adjust the levels of the same substances already present in grape juice or wine, should not be required to be indicated on the label of the resulting product.


Principle #8: Exempt standard wine from expiration date labeling, in the light of product characteristics.


Principle #9: Regulators in exporting and importing countries should establish reliable means of communicating with one another, which should be used promptly when some form of enforcement activity is being contemplated for wine in international trade.