Can we sell alcohol from our home?

Our property lawyer Fiona McNulty answers your questions
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Can i sell alcohol from my home
© Merrily Harpur
Question: My husband and I have some friends who have a house in the South of France where they have a vineyard. Even though the vineyard is really small, they make a couple of thousand bottles of the most delicious wine each year.

We have been thinking about bringing some back in a van and selling it for our friends from our house — well our garage — to friends and neighbours. Is there anything to stop us doing this?

Answer: It sounds like an enterprising idea, but you must do careful research. There are strict licensing laws and all I can do here is draw your attention to some of the matters which you will need to address.

Look at the title deeds to your house and see whether your property is affected by any restrictive covenants prohibiting the sale of liquor.

If there are no such restrictive covenants then you must consider whether you need a licence to sell your friends' wine and the type of licence you will require. I do suggest that you contact your local authority for advice first of all. Generally, if you want to sell alcohol in England and Wales you must have a licence or other authorisation from a licensing authority, which tends to be your local council.

If you are going to sell the wine on a temporary basis only, you may be able to apply for a temporary event notice, but if your garage sales are going to be a regular occurrence you may need both a premises licence and a personal licence. As well as talking to your local authority you may wish to take advice from a solicitor who specialises in liquor licensing.

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If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

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