Protecting New Zealands reputation as a reliable and honest producer of grape vine, wine products, cider or mead is of paramount importance to the Government, who must provide assurances to overseas markets.
The wine and the related product industry is regulated according to the Wine Act 2003. All winemakers (producing for export or in excess of 10,000L/a) and certain other parties are required to register a Wine Standards Management Plan (Wine Standards Management Plan). This sets out how the winemaker will meet their obligations to produce wine that is fit for consumption, is fully traceable and labelled in a truthful manner.
The industry code of practice, issued by New Zealand Winegrowers, can be adopted as an off-the-shelf compliance tool to assist in this process. The code is relevant to all businesses involved in grape winemaking, including those making or bottling wine under contract. A separate code of practice is available for Cider and Mead.
The winemaker completes their documentation, which includes the application forms for the Ministry of Primary Industries, confirming they will use the code of practice or develop their own process. Once their application is accepted, we can plan the date for the first on-site verification audit. Forms and procedures are available on the Ministry of Primary Industries website: http://www.mpi.govt.nz.
The purpose of the audit is to confirm that there are records and observation of practice for the following:
- Grapes used to make wine can be tracked from vineyard of origin through to export or despatch for sale locally
- Wine in any package can be traced back to the source vineyard(s)
- All other winemaking inputs can be identified
- The truthfulness and accuracy of label statements regarding wine variety, vintage, area of origin and country of origin can be verified
- Information about allergy and disease
- Where relevant, the labelling requirements under the New Zealand (ANZFA) Food Code are complied with
Following each (annual) audit there is a brief summation of the audit produced. Where the outcome of the audit is deemed acceptable, wine exports can expect to continue. Where an audit outcome is deemed unacceptable, corrective action will be required. Audit frequency for exporters is annual.