What’s your tolerance?

Label alcohol tolerance by market 

17 May 2021
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In most markets, the alcohol statement is a mandatory component of wine labels and should be expressed as the percentage of alcohol by volume (e.g. ‘13.5% alc/vol’).

In Australia, the tolerance (the difference between the labelled alcohol content and actual alcohol content) for the alcohol statement must be accurate to within:

  • 1.5% alc/vol for wine, sparkling wine and wine products containing more than 6.5% alc/vol
  • 0.5% alc/vol for spirits, brandy and fortified wine, and
  • 0.5% alc/vol for all other alcoholic beverages containing more than 1.15% (to less than 6.5% alc/vol).

For example, if a table wine is labelled as ‘13% alc/vol’, the actual alcohol content may be between 11.5% and 14.5%.

For export, the labelling rules and tolerances for the alcohol statement vary from country to country and are often more restrictive than Australia’s rules. It is a condition of export that wines must comply with Australian labelling requirements set out in the Food Standards Code, including the alcohol tolerance, however, exporters should be aware of the rules that apply in the destination market. Below is an extract of the alcohol statement information from Wine Australia’s Export Market Guides.

Where alcohol tolerances for an export market are not specified, exporters should consult with their agent or importer. In the absence of a specific (or higher) alcohol tolerance, the Australian tolerance should be adhered to.

For further information or clarification contact Wine Australia at labels@wineaustralia.com or (08) 8228 2000.

Market

 

Tolerance

(%)

     Notes

Argentina

0.5

 

Australia

0.5

1.5

0.5

  • wines 1.15% alc/vol to 6.5% alc/vol 
  • wines above 6.5% alc/vol 
  • fortified wine/brandy

Brazil

0.5

 

Cambodia

not specified

Contact importer/agent in market

Canada

1.0

0.5

  • wines below 16% alc/vol
  • wines above 16% alc/vol

Chile

0.5

 

China

1.0

 

European Union (EU)

0.8

Note, the 0.8% tolerance is granted to Australian wines under the EU-Australia Wine Agreement. Otherwise the tolerance is 0.5%

Fiji

not specified

Contact importer/agent in market

Hong Kong

not specified

Contact importer/agent in market

India

0.5

1.0

  • wines up to 20% alc/vol
  • wines above 20% alc/vol

Indonesia

2.0

(note, Australia’s 1.5% tolerance must be complied with for export)

Israel

0.5

 

Japan

1.0

Alcohol content is measured at 15° C. See export market guide for more information

Korea

0.5

Alcohol content is measured at 15° C

Kenya/EAC

not specified

Contact importer/agent in market

Malaysia

not specified

Contact importer/agent in market

Mexico

0.5

 

Mongolia

0.5

Contact importer/agent in market

Myanmar

not specified

Contact importer/agent in market

New Caledonia

0.5

Contact importer/agent in market

New Zealand

0.5

1.5

0.5

  • wines 1.15% alc/vol to 6.5% alc/vol 
  • wines above 6.5% alc/vol 
  • fortified wine/brandy

Nigeria

not specified

Contact importer/agent in market

Norway

0.5

 

Papua New Guinea

not specified

Contact importer/agent in market

Peru

not specified

Contact importer/agent in market

Philippines

not specified

Contact importer/agent in market

Qatar

not specified

Contact importer/agent in market

Russia

1.0

0.5

  • wine, sparkling wine, semi-sparkling wine & carbonated wine
  • wines with a GI, liqueur wines, aromatised wine, special wine & special fruit wine

Singapore

not specified

Contact importer/agent in market

South Africa

1.0

 

Sri Lanka

not specified

Contact importer/agent in market

Switzerland

0.5

 

Taiwan

1.0

0.5

alcohol products other than distilled spirits including wine

distilled spirits

Thailand

1.0

 

Turkey

0.5

0.8

  • table wines
  • sparkling, carbonated, liqueur and fortified wines which are aged 3 years or more in the bottle, and have the production year specified

UAE

not specified

Contact importer/agent in market

United Kingdom

0.8

Note, the 0.8% tolerance is granted to Australian wines under the EU-Australia Wine Agreement. Otherwise the tolerance is 0.5% 

USA

1.5

1.0

  • wines below 14% alc/vol
  • wines above 14% alc/vol

Vietnam

not specified

Contact importer/agent in market


This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.

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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.