Why you may not be able to find your favourite wine or tequila on South African shelves

South African shoppers looking for their favourite bottle of wine or tequila may find that it boasts a new label, or appears to be missing from the shelves altogether.

This follows the recent publication of the amendment to the Regulations of the Liquor Products Act by the minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in April.

According to Tammi Pretorius, trade mark attorney at Kisch IP, the amendment will limit the use of certain particulars in connection with the sale of liquor products.

This includes limitations on which labels may be used as well as what products may be called before being sold in South Africa.


The biggest changes to wine in South Africa is likely to come in the form of changed or revised labels after a number of words or elements were regulated under the new amendment.

“The regulations contains various reservations with regard to the use of certain words or elements in relation to liquor products, such as the use of the words ‘Cape’, ‘port’ or ‘sherry’, the abbreviation ‘W.O.’, or the use of a medal or sticker that creates the impression that the liquor product concerned has received a medal or award,” Pretorius said.

The regulations also specify what wines may be called, based on where they are produced and/or how they are made.


“The most recent (and welcomed) amendment relates to the reservation with regard to the use of the word “tequila” in relation to liquor products,” said Pretorius.

Specifically, the regulations now state that:

No person shall in connection with the sale of a liquor product use the word “tequila” unless such use is in compliance with the official Mexican standard.”.

“In short, the official Mexican standard for Tequila is that it is an alcoholic beverage made with agave azul which is grown in an officially demarcated area in Mexico, and which is produced, bottled and/or marketed under certain directions, standards and specifications.

“Only once those standards have been met may an alcoholic beverage be labelled as Tequila,” she said.

Read: The world’s biggest wine producers in 2018 including South Africa

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Why you may not be able to find your favourite wine or tequila on South African shelves