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Compliance costs checked for low volume winemakers

Hon Lianne Dalziel
Minister of Commerce, Minister for Food Safety,
Associate Minister of Justice, MP for Christchurch East

25 January 2008 Media Statement

Compliance costs checked for low volume winemakers

Wine makers who produce very small volumes for the domestic market will have their compliance costs held in check following a decision by government to exempt them from the requirement to register a Wine Standards Management Plan (WSMP), Food Safety Minister Lianne Dalziel announced today.

"This is very good news for micro-wineries who struggle to pass on compliance costs to consumers. It's a common-sense move that will protect the integrity of our wine standards while assisting small producers who feel the weight of compliance the most heavily," Lianne Dalziel said. Lianne Dalziel was hosted by Philip and Tracy Caunter of Melton Estate Vineyard in making the announcement.

A WSMP is a tool of the Wine Act 2003 that was developed by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority in consultation with the wine industry to help winemakers manage the food safety aspects of their process. Most winemakers will be required to operate a registered WSMP from December 2008 but as some activities associated with a WSMP will have a fixed cost component, the impact on very small winemakers was considered to be disproportionate to their size compared to larger operators in the industry, Lianne Dalziel said.

Very small wineries will still be required to meet the standards of the Wine Act 2003 such as safety, identity and labelling of wine. They will also have make a declaration every two years stating that, on average, their wine production each year over the next two years is expected to be less than 10,000 litres.

"This exemption will make it easier for new small wineries to start up and is in line with the philosophy of the proposed Food Act where very small scale producers of low-risk foods with a small sphere of impact will not be subject to the same compliance requirements as the big players. Although the Quality Regulation Review formally ended in September, I am delighted that we are continuing to announce good outcomes resulting from the Labour-led government's efforts to tackle the small issues that add to the weight of compliance for New Zealand businesses," Lianne Dalziel said.

"Very small winemakers" are defined as those who produce less than 10,000 litres of wine per year and do not export their product. Of the approximately 580 winemaking businesses in New Zealand, it is estimated that between 50 and 100 meet these criteria. They produce less than 2.5 percent of all wine sold in New Zealand.


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