Wine Law

THE WINE INDUSTRY REGULATION IN MALTA 481 quality thereof but by maintaining the product in line with its counterparts within the European Union. The Wine Act of 2011 provided for a certain level of initial regulation on the local scenario through the licensing of vintners which prohibited any person from preparing, making or bottling “locally produced or imported wine and wine-related products for sale, without a valid licence”4 and any person found guilty of engaging “in the operation of an unlicensed winery, shall be guilty of an offence.”5. Moreover, any person licensed under the Act, but who “fails to comply with the provisions of the Act, shall be guilty of an offence.”6. Furthermore, an aggrieved person who is refused the issuing or renewal of a licence has a right to appeal matter before an Administrative Review Tribunal7. These initial provisions clearly demonstrate that, in 2002, the authorities had already every intention to regulate the industry, as well as, and more importantly, to seek enforcement on any infringement arising in the industry to achieve the best quality of wine possible. Needless to say, it would be futile to have a good legislation in place without adequate enforcement. The Act also provided for the registration of vineyards as well as of growers, with a Register of Vineyards to be kept with the Director of Agriculture who is obliged to ascertain an up-to-date database with accurate information “on areas under vine production and to estimate the wine potential.”8. The Director of Agriculture’s responsibility to maintain such a Register, therefore, allowed for the first time, the establishment of visual references “covering the entire area under vine production in the form of a map indicating the exact location and area of vineyards”9. Eventually, as shall be referred to under the respective Subsidiary Legislation for DOK Wines Production, emanating from the enabling Act under review, there is provision for Quality Wine Produced in a Specific Region (QWPSR), which gives the winery to carry the name of a specific region or vineyard within the Maltese Islands. Other regulations provided under the Act include the weighing of the grapes when harvested by a public weigher, who is expected to provide information not only regarding the weight thereof but also on the variety and origin of the grapes so harvested. The record kept by growers includes the annual quantities and different varieties of harvested grapes for wine-making, as well as the hectolitres 4 Chapter 436, Article 3(1). 5 Ibid, Article 3(6). 6 Ibid, Article 3(7). 7 Under Chapter 490 of the Laws of Malta, entitled “The Administrative Justice Act”, first enacted in 15 June 2007. 8 Chapter 436, Article 5(1). 9 Ibid, Article 5(2).