FAQ's

Common questions, answered simply


No. The vast majority of products in our portfolio are pre-formulated liquid products (alcohols and vinegars) that are received principally in bulk formats and undergo further processing (e.g. reduction-blending, filtration) and packaging at the company’s site at Strood, Kent. GFW is an agent to only a handful of pre-packed traded goods (e.g. mustards) that are purchased and sold on in original pack.

Yes. GFW maintains the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety, which for the past two years has been retained at AA grade. The scope includes all products and processes, with a limited ranged of pre-packed commodities presently covered by the Voluntary Module 8 for Traded Goods. No other certifications are maintained.

Only in the case of a limited range of pre-packed traded goods (Mustards, Tabasco Red Pepper Sauce). All other products that are processed and packaged by GFW are liquids, which are filled by flowmeter and invoiced in litres (by stipulation of HM Revenue & Customs in the case of alcohols).

Where customers wish to estimate the nett weight (kg) of a given volume of liquid, the following formula can be used: 

KGs = Volume (Litres) x Specific Gravity (SG)

e.g. Red wine - SG 0.990 (the mean SG @ 20°C of the product is given on the relevant specification).

20 litres = 20 x 0.990 = approx. 19.8 kg

(or conversely, to calculate Litres from KGs = KGs / Specific Gravity (SG)

Neither GFW or its suppliers make specific ‘gluten-free’ claims for their products, nor therefore maintain specific gluten-free controls or policies. A number of products (excluding beers and malt vinegar), however, that do not naturally contain gluten, may in principle be deemed suitable by customers for use in their own gluten-free applications based on their intrinsic properties, and an understanding of their production and handling methods.

Sources of gluten on site include residual levels in beers and malt vinegar. Risks of cross-contamination are controlled by separation of product types (e.g. different units for beers and vinegars) and prescribed cleaning controls between filling operations. Routine testing for gluten is not carried out. Occasional commissioned testing is made on sources of gluten (e.g. malt vinegar) to confirm estimated levels for advising relative risks where shared lines may be involved (which, typically, in the case of Malt vinegar, are <5mg/l by Codex R5 method, and <25mg/l for the Competitive Elisa test (as most appropriate for fermented products).

No. Supportable gluten-free claim for beers are not common, being usually produced in the bottled market in relatively small quantities for target consumers, and often from non-cereal sources (e.g. rice, sorghum, de-glutenised malt). While most beers will have naturally low gluten levels (on account that fermentation degrades gluten), mainstream beer producers tend not to pursue this principle. Rather, the requisite allergen warning (“contains/from malted barley / wheat”) is stated on pack. At GFW, the additional controls and high costs of validation testing against generally small volume interest, combined with short packaged life and filled-to-order handling, presently renders handling gluten-free ales prohibitive.

The vast majority of GFW's products are deemed suitable in principle for a vegetarian and or vegan diet based on their intrinsic properties, production and handling methods. However, GFW nor its suppliers make formal claims to this effect.

Product types are separated into different storage and handling areas – e.g. Vinegars in a dedicated Vinegar unit, Beers in another; bulks wines, spirits & liqueurs in another. GFW presently handles only two animal-derived products in their own right: cream liqueurs from dairy milk (Merry’s Irish Cream, received in drum, and stored/filled in segregation from other products in our Duty Paid unit (Bay 6); and Bailey’s Irish Cream, in smaller quantities, received in glass and disgorged and repacked in our glass & keg handling unit, Bay 3). 

In the latter unit, we may additionally handle spot-purchased wines in bottle that may, in a very few instances, have been clarified using trace agents derived from egg, milk, or gelatine. In the case of egg or milk, these will be declared on the bottle (and reflected on GFW specification). Other fining agents (e.g. gelatine) may be indeterminable. Products received in glass are handled in a dedicated glass-handling unit under CCP and cleaning controls to minimise risks of cross-contamination.

Only one product, Tabasco Red Pepper Sauce (a traded commodity) is deemed suitable (and certified) for either a Kosher or Halal diet. All other products presently handled by GFW are deemed unsuitable, either intrinsically, or due to the complexities of their manufacture and processing that precludes special arrangements.

Customers selecting any GFW product for use in an application with a particular dietary requirement are advised to check suitability with us in the first instance. 

Yes. GFW directly handles only one declarable allergen on site: sulphites, in the form of Potassium Metabisulphite (E224), which is used as a preservative in wines and some lower acidity vinegars. Other allergen-bearing products (ref. (EU) 1168/2011 Annex II) include, Mustard (in sealed pre-pack), derivatives of Cereals (beers, malt vinegar) and Milk (cream liqueur). 

For further information, see GFW’s Position Statement: Allergens & Allergen-bearing products.

No. In most wine-making practices, treatments with sulphites (E220-E228) form an essential part of the wine-making process, where they are used to control oxidation and the propagation of wild yeasts and bacteria and therefore reduce the risks of spoilage or instability.

Since sulphite levels may vary in wines according to vintage and particular conditions of wines in storage throughout a vintage year (including the storage life at GFW of its bulk wines), we state the max. legal threshold for sulphites in our wine specifications (e.g. 150 mg/l for standard red wine; 200 mg/l for white wines), which are the recommended values for calculating final total sulphite levels in your final product.

The majority of GFW’s wines are received in bulk format (road tanker), while beers are removed from original pack (keg, or glass) for filtration and re-packaging into food-suitable plastic formats. The respective actions involve unavoidable air contact, which may in time impact the quality of the product. In the case of low-alcohol products such as beers and wines, this necessarily sets a limit on the packaged BB4 (of two weeks, and one month respectively).

Yes, usually, for unopened containers kept under the recommended storage conditions (sealed, cool ambient, out of direct sunlight (indoors). The given shelf-life for re-packaged products is a conservative one based on its alcohol or acetic acid content. Generally, the higher the alcohol, the longer the stated shelf-life, expressed as Best Before (BB4). 

GFW can entertain applications for extensions to shelf-life on a case-by-case basis, based on your own organoleptic assessment and stated storage conditions, and up to 100% of the initial life, dependent upon the nature of the product and received information. Occasionally we may request a small sample for evaluation in the first instance. Exceptions include beers which, due to their low alcohol content, are restricted to no more than a few days past their standard re-packaged life of two weeks. 

For further information, see GFW Product BB4s and Concession Arrangements.

Yes. We are a Supplier (B) Member. Our membership no. is: ZC1075971, as also detailed on our Ethical Trading Policy (available on request). GFW includes the ETI base code in supplier questionnaires towards assuring, as far as possible, that working conditions at our supplier’s sites are acceptable, and that modern slavery and human trafficking is not active in their supply chains.

Yes. Any requests are registered in a job list and dealt with by our technologists as soon as possible on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to the large number of customers and product permutations, typical turnaround times are around two weeks, but may take longer at times of peak demand. GFW maintains a library of its own current specifications for its full range of products, which serve as the reference for completed customer formats, and are available at product evaluation and NPD stages, or as an agreed specification format, on request.

Some alcoholic products we supplied by GFW - beers, wines (e.g. Champagne, Prosecco) and ciders - may continue to outgas carbon dioxide gas (CO2) for a little while following delivery. This represents either naturally produced CO2 by fermentation, or that added by the producer at a later stage. This is completely normal for freshly decanted product filled to order from original bottle or keg. To accommodate this, GFW fits ‘breather caps’ to containers of these products to permit any excess CO2 to slowly dissipate. 

Occasionally, the agitation of transportation may result in the process being accelerated, and the container walls may appear to be distended on delivery. This should not, however, be confused with ‘blowing’ or re-fermenting product. Usually some standing time in cool ambient or chilled conditions will allow the containers to return to their original dimensions. If in doubt, please contact GFW for advice in the first instance.

No. GFW does not produce any materials produced on behalf of or sold directly to retailers. Ingredients supplied to food manufacturers do, however, find wide and varied use in a range of retailer applications.

No. The principle of field-to-fork presents significant challenges for evolved derivatives such as fermented (e.g. generic wines and vinegars) and distilled products (spirit drinks) that may be produced from multiple original raw material sources often several steps beyond the purview of the product manufacturer, and further elaborated by continuous production or blending processes to produce the final product as supplied to GFW (at which point its provenance and integrity is generally established). Consequently, documented record and traceability for bulk-source categories supplied by GFW can generally only be achieved to the manufacturer’s batch and/or immediate raw material supplier.

For certain other alcoholic drinks available only in glass (or other On & Off Trade formats) and procured by GFW in small quantities and/or at specific customer request from wholesale outlets, available supply chain traceability generally extends no further back than our immediate supplier. As brand commodities (whose use as food ingredients is incidental to their intended market), compositional and related product information tends to be very limited, being restricted in most cases to consumer-level information only (although the identity of the producer / last place of consolidation of the product, as detailed on the brand label, is recorded alongside as part of GFW’s elaborated incoming goods checks). 

Contact us today on +44 (0)1634 290592 or info@goodfoodwines.com for more information on our product range