Wine labelling and composition

Find labelling and composition requirements specific to wine produced or imported for sale in New Zealand or for export.

Labelling and composition requirements for all wine sold in New Zealand

All wine sold in New Zealand, including imported wine, must meet the labelling and composition requirements of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code).

Find the Food Standards Code — Food Standards Australia New Zealand website

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.

Applying labelling and composition requirements

MPI has prepared a guide to meeting grape wine labelling requirements

Guide to meet grape wine labelling requirements [PDF, 869 KB]

Guidance prepared by MPI and FSANZ can assist you to prepare the information that needs to be included on labels.

Find out about applying labelling and composition requirements

Additional labelling requirements 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

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:

  • Regulation 7 – Country of origin labelling and identification requirements
  • Regulation 8 – Grape wine not to be associated with false or misleading labelling.

New Zealand Legislation: Wine Regulations 2006  

The 85% rule for grape variety, vintage, and area of origin

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 not subject to 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 requirements for export grape wine

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 also meet any relevant labelling requirements of the destination country. Some countries set different percentage requirements for label statements. New Zealand Winegrowers provides an international wine labelling guide for its members. This is available through the members-only section of their website.

New Zealand Wine website  

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