This newsletter is from June 2022~
I thought for this newsletter I would explain how one goes about becoming a licensed wine seller - specifically selling your own wine here in New Zealand.
1) To make consumers aware of what makes up some of the cost of that bottle of wine you’re buying.
2) If any of you out there are looking at treading this path (yippee!).
First Things First
To make wine that you would like to sell to the general public you need MPI (Ministry of Primary Industries) to tick you off. To do that you need to submit a WSMP (Wine Systems Management Plan) or you can apply for a WSMP Exemption, which you would do if you are intending on making less than 20,000 litres of wine over a two year period and not exporting overseas (that’s me). Pays to have your own personal WSMP though, which at its very basics is a system where everything is obviously hygienic, noted down and accountable with every step traceable so that if any contamination has occurred you will know where and possibly how. And apparently MPI can randomly turn up and give you a spot check (I’m sure they’d at least email first!). An exemption costs $155 and needs to be renewed every two years.
You are not allowed to sell wine that was made retrospectively of you obtaining your approval.
Secondly, Thirdly, Fourthly
To get your license you have to apply to your Local District Council - for the pleasure of applying for your license you pay $609.50, the actual license fee is $391. The license fee you pay every year. The application for your license ($609.50 remember) is paid your first AND second year and then it’s paid three yearly. BUT! Before applying for your license you need to get your LCQ (License Controller Qualification) which costs between $195 - $295, then you have to get your Manager’s Certificate which costs $316 and has the same cockamamie payment plan as the license application - pay for the first + second year then every three years.
Is your mind boggled yet?! I’ve had to do a six year financial plan just to work it all out (year 4 is going to be great!).
Insane in the Membrane
Making and selling wine seems to be for the idle rich - which I most certainly am not and I do have days wondering if I’m right in the head for even attempting this! I mean these costs are just for the honour of being able to sell wine. Then there’s the actual making of wine, consumables, the time, the equipment, the bottling, the time, the labelling, the marketing, the time and oh my god, then there’s three different taxes to pay (so let’s add in the cost of an accountant too!).
So why the heck am I doing it? (and not pleading insanity)
It’s a really good question to ask myself and I’m still working it out. But I know passion is the foundation, ludicrous dreams, a love of sharing , the support and cheerleading from my friends and whānau acting as glue, nails and screws. My belief that I’ve got some rocking wines that will shake the establishment…And fuck, maybe I’m just a little bit foolish and stubborn and I just want to do it!
Where is Catalyst at?
I obtained my WSMP exemption December 2021 and my first wines made since then will be ready December this year, so I’m intending on applying for my license (etc) in October or December. My under the radar tasting event didn’t happen last month due to covid (reducing participant numbers). Hopefully I’ll be having a local one this month, fingers crossed!