The UK wine industry regulator has changed hands.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) confirmed today (30 June) that the Wine Standards Board (WSB) would merge with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) tomorrow. The merger will help simplify and reduce the number of enforcement bodies currently operating in the UK, DEFRA said.

The merger is one of the recommendations of the Hampton Review, published in March last year to simplify the enforcement activity in England and reduce the number of enforcement bodies. It will result in the FSA taking over responsibility for enforcing the EU wine regime in the UK.

"I welcome this merger because it will help to reduce the burden on the wine industry through greater use of risk-based and targeted inspections, which in turn will bring benefits for consumers too," Minister for Sustainable Farming and Food, Jeff Rooker said.

Deirdre Hutton, chair of the FSA, added: "This is good news for the WSB and for us. We are delighted to welcome the team here and we will be working hard to exploit synergies between us.

"In particular we are looking forward to expanding our expertise and sharing our experience on sampling and verifying the authenticity and composition of wines in order to protect consumers in this very important market."

Following the merger, policy responsibility for wine-making practices, labelling of wine and the vineyard register will transfer from DEFRA to the FSA. DEFRA will retain policy responsibility for all other aspects of the Common Agricultural Policy wine regime and for industry sponsorship.