Poland: Amendment of Act on Production and Bottling of Wine Products, Trade in these Products and Common Organization of the Market in Wine

06 May 2011

Olga Lesniewska, Emilia Stepien

On 1 April 2011 the lower chamber of the Polish Parliament adopted an amendment to the Act on Production and Bottling of Wine Products, Trade in these Products and Common Organization of the Market in Wine (the Amendment). The Amendment is expected to be adopted by the upper chamber of the Parliament soon. It is likely that it will come into force in the next few months.  Its aim is to adapt Polish law to EU requirements.

The Amendment sets up national stage of procedure for obtaining geographical indications (GI) and designations of origin (DO) for wine products in Poland. Currently, it is only possible to obtain GI/DO  upon filing an application directly with the European Commission. Under amendment, the application for GI/DO needs to be submitted to the Polish Minister for Agriculture. The Minister verifies whether the formal requirements are met, and provided that no reservations were made, hands the application over to the European Commission.

The Amendment introduces certificates for manufacturers provided by the Regulation 607/2009/EC. Such certificate entitles the manufacturer to put information on vintage year and/or name of grape variety on the label. The certificate is issued after the control of the relevant regional inspector for commercial quality of the agricultural and food products checks if all conditions required by the Regulation are met.

Additionally, the Amendment classifies fermented wine products into certain categories: fruit wine, mead, fruit wine beverage, cider and perry. It is intended that the generic names are going to be used on labels. The aim is to facilitate consumers in distinguishing different types of fermented wine products.

Also, the Amendment facilitates conducting activity by small wine products’ manufacturers. In general, wine products’ manufacturers need to meet a number of conditions including: (i) registration, (ii) providing for internal control system, (iii) submitting a plan of buildings of the manufacture, and (iv) proving no criminal record of the manufacturer’s management. Small manufacturers, making and bottling wine produced from self-cultivated grapes, are exempted from these obligations. The manufacturers of small amounts of quality fruit wine, cider and perry produced from self-cultivated fruit or mead made from honey from their own apiary are also partially exempted from of the obligations.