Wine growing is booming here in the UK with a 25% year on year increase in the amount of land which is now planted with vines and it is also becoming a popular area for farmers and landowners to diversify into. If you are planning on going a step further and opening a vineyard to sell wine directly to the public, what are the key licence considerations you need to think of?
Before you do anything, you will firstly need to contact your local authority Trading Standards office to find out if you need a retail licence to trade in wine in the UK. There are also very strict rules governing how wine is made and labelled which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wine-trade-regulations
Next you will need to consider what the rules are for applying for a premises licence or variations to an existing licence.
If you are setting up a new business, buying an existing business, organising an event or considering a career in the licensed trade, you may need to apply for a licence and UK licensing laws, (the Licensing Act 2003) covers licensable activities; the sale of alcohol, providing regulated entertainment and selling hot food at night.
Licensing laws are there to prevent crime, promote public safety, protect children from harm and also prevent public nuisance.
There are also different types of licences to apply for and depending on the type of activity, one or more of these examples may be required:
- Premises licences
- Personal licences
- Temporary event notices
Licences are obtained from the Local Authority and authorisation for a licensed activity is only granted after the completion of the licensing process. There are different considerations depending on the type of licence and you should consider consulting a solicitor to advise or assist. Failure to obtain the relevant licence could have a significant impact on the business, individual, organisation or client. If a licence is refused, your solicitor can advise on appealing the decision.
It is also important to consider any future changes which may need to be made to an existing licence. We have recently successfully concluded a number of licensing applications on behalf of a vineyard and other businesses.
Given the complexity of the laws around licensing and the importance of making sure you have the correct licence, you should consider taking legal advice in good time of opening any new venture, as it can be quite a long process.