Category: Bureaucracy

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What are the legal aspects to import alcohol to Estonia?

One of our regular customers has consistently wanted to start delivering wine products into Estonia.

We will now respond to him with thorough instructions, explaining what kind of complex legal procedures will have to be followed.

So to speak, a step by step guide.


The first legal step is to set up a company.
You can do this conveniently by choosing our respective service:

Company formation

In fact, the first step, in addition to choosing the name, industry, phone and e-mail, and so on, includes choosing an address for your business.

If you do not want your home address to be visible to everyone in various databases and you do not immediately want to rent a luxurious office space, we will also help you with the address:

Package ONE

In the company formation processes, there is a need to select the appropriate activity field. If there is a desire to import alcohol, the activity should be:

Wholesale or retail trade or catering (in Estonian hulgi- või jaekaubanduse või toitlustamise tegevusala ).

This matter is regulated by the Alcohol Act, which provides, inter alia:

  • the import of an alcoholic beverage may be carried out by an undertaking engaged in wholesale or retail trade or catering, the data of the register of economic activities (hereinafter MTR) of which contain the definition of the alcohol handled and information on the import or export of alcohol
  • Whereas the importation of spirits may be carried out by an undertaking engaged in the activity of wholesale trade whose MTR data contain information on the importation or exportation of spirits
  • The imported alcohol must be entered in the national alcohol register at the request of the importer. The customs official checks the existence of the registration on the website of the alcohol register
  • The customs declaration must indicate the definition of the alcohol (type, name, manufacturer, volume of sales package, ethanol content, batch designation by the producer, both batch numbers and vintage must be used at the same time)

ehk selges Eesti keeles:

  1. alkohoolse joogi importi võib teostada hulgi- või jaekaubanduse või toitlustamise tegevusalal tegutsev ettevõtja, kelle majandustegevuse registri (edaspidi MTR) andmetes on märgitud käideldava alkoholi määratlus ja teave alkoholi impordi või ekspordi kohta
  2. piirituse importi võib teostada hulgikaubanduse tegevusalal tegutsev ettevõtja, kelle MTR andmetes on teave piirituse impordi või ekspordi kohta
  3. imporditav alkohol peab olema kantud riiklikku alkoholiregistrisse importija taotlusel, tolliametnik kontrollib registreeringu olemasolu alkoholiregistri veebilehel
  4. tollideklaratsioonil peab kajastuma alkoholi määratlus (liik, nimi, tootja, müügipakendi maht, etanoolisisaldus, tootjapoolne partii tähistus, kusjuures partii numbri ja aastakäigu samaaegsel kasutamisel peavad olema märgitud mõlemad tähistused)

Of course, there are exceptions:

The following alcohol does not have to be entered in the national alcohol register, as it is not covered by the Alcohol Act (which means that other requirements of the Alcohol Act do not apply):

  • A medicinal product containing ethanol within the meaning of the Medicines Act;
    synthetic spirits, ester aldehyde fraction, castor oil and denatured alcohol
  • Alcohol exempt from excise duty on the basis of clauses 27 (1) 1), 11) and 9) –18) of ATKEAS,
    an alcoholic beverage delivered to Estonia by a passenger for use for non-commercial purposes in moving luggage
  • An alcoholic beverage sent to a natural person from abroad for use for non-commercial purposes

We are now focusing on our client’s favorite, wine.

Wine needs accompanying documents. The requirements for the accompanying document for wine are laid down in Commission Regulation (EC) No 555/2008.

A certificate and an analysis report must be drawn up for imports into the Community of products with the following commodity codes:

  • grape wine 2204
  • grape must 2204 30 92, 2204 30 94, 2204 30 96, 2204 30 98

The certificate and the analysis report shall be drawn up as a single VI1 document for each consignment intended for import which: the part of the certificate shall be drawn up by the authority of the third country in which the products originate part of the analysis report shall be drawn up by an official laboratory recognized by the third country in which the products originate.

A list of competent authorities in third countries can be found on the European Commission’s website. Upon importation of wines, the undertaking shall present to the customs authorities at the time of release for free circulation:

  • VI1 original and copy the copy obtained, or an extract from the original VI2 and two copies. In the case of liqueur wines and wines fortified for distillation, box 14 of the VI1 document must bear the endorsement of the third country: “the alcohol added to this wine is wine alcohol”.
  • Form V I 1 may be used to certify that the imported wine bears a geographical indication. In that case, the following shall be entered in box 14: “It shall be proved that the wine referred to in this document has been produced in a wine-growing region and that the geographical indication referred to in box 6 has been granted in accordance with the law of the country of origin.”
  • The endorsement must be endorsed with the name and address of the authority, the signature of the official, and the stamp of the authority. (Article 50 (2) of Regulation 555/2008)

ehk selges Eesti keeles:

Allpool loetletud kaubakoodidega toodete importimiseks ühendusse tuleb koostada sertifikaat ja analüüsiaruanne:

  1. viinamarjavein 2204
  2. viinamarjavirre 2204 30 92, 2204 30 94, 2204 30 96, 2204 30 98
Sertifikaat ja analüüsiaruanne koostatakse ühtse dokumendina VI1 iga importimiseks ettenähtud saadetise kohta, mille:
  • sertifikaadi osa koostab selle kolmanda riigi ametiasutus, kust tooted on pärit;
  • analüüsiaruande osa koostab selle kolmanda riigi poolt tunnustatud ametlik labor, kust tooted on pärit.
Kolmandate riikide pädevate asutuste loetelu leiate Euroopa Komisjoni veebilehel.
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Veinide importimisel esitab ettevõte tollile saadetise vabasse ringlusse lubamisel kolmandas riigis välja antud:
  • VI1 originaaleksemplari ja läbi kopeeri saadud koopia
  • väljavõtte VI2 originaaleksemplarist ja kaks koopiat

Liköörveinide ja destilleerimiseks kangendatud veinide puhul peab VI1 dokumendi lahtrisse 14 olema kolmanda riigi asutuse poolt märgitud: „käesolevale veinile lisatud alkohol on veinialkohol”. Märge peab olema kinnitatud asutuse nime ja aadressiga, ametniku allkirja ja asutuse templiga. Ilma vastava märketa VI1 dokument ei kehti.

Vormiga V I 1 võib tõendada, et imporditud vein kannab geograafilist tähist. Sellisel juhul kantakse lahtrisse 14 järgmine märge: „On tõendatud, et käesolevas dokumendis nimetatud vein on toodetud … viinamarjakasvatuspiirkonnas ja lahtris 6 märgitud geograafiline tähis on antud sellele päritoluriigi õiguses sätestatud korras”.

Märge peab olema kinnitatud asutuse nime ja aadressiga, ametniku allkirja ja asutuse templiga. (Määruse 555/2008 art 50 lg 2)


Let’s take a closer look at the accompanying documents for wine imports.

1. The certificate and the analysis report shall form a single VI1 document which:

(a) the part of the certificate drawn up by the authority of the third country in which the products originate
(b) part of the analysis report shall be drawn up by an official laboratory recognized by the third country in which the products originate (Article 40)

A list of relevant authorities and laboratories can be found here.

2. Under Article 47, on importation of wines (release for free circulation), the undertaking must present to the customs authorities:

(a) the original of the VI1 and a copy obtained;
(b) the original of extract VI2 and two copies.

3. Simplified regime for Australian wine producers (Article 45)

The Australian authorities have authorized some of their wine producers to issue VI1 themselves. Box 1 must show the name and address of the wine producer and his registration number. Box 9 must show the name and address of the authority of the third country which approved the manufacturer. Box 10 shall show the alcoholic strength by volume, the total acidity, and the total sulfur dioxide content. The document shall be signed by the wine producer, striking out the words “name and title of the official”.

4. Batch – a quantity of a product sent from one consignor to one consignee. The consignment must be accompanied by VI1. This shall be confirmed by the third country authority and laboratory officials.

5. Use of Form VI1 and Extract VI2
Scratching and overwriting is prohibited. To make a correction, the incorrect data must be crossed out and, if necessary, the necessary data added. Each correction must be accompanied by the stamp of the customs official and the stamp of the customs office or the stamp of a laboratory or other official body.

If the lots are not divided into parts. The consignment (quantity of product sent from one consignor to one consignee) must be accompanied by a VI1 form, which must be presented to customs. The customs official checks the data and validates the VI1, returns the original and keeps a copy.

When a batch is divided into parts. If a consignment is split before releasing for free circulation, the company must present to the customs official the original and a copy of the VI1 document or extract VI2 of the consignment to be divided and subsequently the original and two copies of the VI2 form completed for each new consignment.

The customs official shall check that the particulars entered in VI1 or VI2 correspond to the VI2 particulars subsequently drawn up for each new consignment.

He shall then endorse the particulars and complete in the same way the back of the VI1 document or the VI2 extract on the basis of which that extract was made.

The customs official shall return the original of the VI2 extract and the VI1 document or an earlier VI2 extract to the company and shall keep the copy for at least five years.

If the consignment is forwarded before releasing for free circulation
If the entire consignment is forwarded before releasing for free circulation, the new consignor shall provide the customs official with a VI1 document or an extract VI2 and, where appropriate, a completed VI2 form.

The customs official shall compare whether the particulars entered in VI1 and VI2 or in extract VI1 and the subsequent VI2 form are consistent. The latter form shall then be stamped by the customs authorities, which shall be equivalent to the VI2 extract and shall complete the previous document or extract in the same way.

The customs official shall return the original of the extract and the VI1 document or the previous VI2 extract to the new consignor and shall keep the copy for at least five years.
However, the VI2 form needs not to be completed if the consignment is re-exported to a third country (Article 47).

6. Indirect imports. Where a wine is exported from the third country in whose territory it was produced (hereinafter referred to as the “country of origin”) to another third country (hereinafter referred to as the “exporting country”) from which the wine is subsequently re-exported to the Community, the competent authority of the exporting country may draw up a VI 1 form. or on the basis of an equivalent document for the wine concerned on a VI 1 form, without the need for further analysis of the wine (Article 49).

7. In the case of liqueur wines and wines fortified for distillation, box 14 of the VI1 document must be marked by the authority of the third country: “The alcohol added to this wine is wine alcohol”. Without a corresponding note, the VI1 document is not valid (Article 50).

8. The VI 1 form may certify that the imported wine bears a geographical indication in accordance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) or Community legislation on geographical indications or the Agreement on recognition and protection of geographical indications between the European Community and third countries. between where the wine originates. In that case, the following shall be entered in box 14: “It shall be proved that the wine referred to in this document has been produced in a wine-growing region and that the geographical indication referred to in box 6 has been granted in accordance with the law of the country of origin.”

The endorsement must be endorsed with the name and address of the authority, the signature of the official, and the stamp of the authority (Article 50).

9. Commodity codes for which a VI1 or VI2 document is required:

2009 61,
2009 69,
2204.

10. Exceptions. The certificate and the analysis report need not be submitted (Article 42):

In the case of products originating in third countries and exported from there in labeled containers of not more than 5 liters fitted with non-reusable closing devices, provided that the total quantity transported (whether or not in separate lots) does not exceed 100 liters. NB! This exceptional case must not be combined with the exceptional cases listed below:

  • wine, grape must, and juice contained in travelers’ personal luggage, up to a maximum of 30 liters per traveler
  • for wine sent from one individual to another, up to a maximum of 30 liters per consignment;
    on wine and grape juice forming part of the personal property of a private individual residing in the Community from a third country
  • for wine and grape juice intended for trade fairs, provided that the products in question are packed in labeled containers of not more than two liters closed with a non – reusable closing device
  • for wine, grape must and grape juice transported in other containers, imported for the purpose of scientific or technical experiments, in quantities not exceeding 100 liters;
    on wine and grape juice imported in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 18 April 1961, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 24 April 1963 or the New York Convention on Special Missions of 16 December 1969
  • on wine and grape juice stored in shops on board ships and aircraft serving international routes
  • on wine and grape juice originating in the European Community and bottled therein exported to a third country and returned to the customs territory of the Community and released for free circulation

So, there is a lot of paperwork 🙂

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