Until 2006 the Company exercised the right, granted by Royal Charter by James I in 1611, to authorise certain members of the Company to sell wine without a Magistrate's Licence under certain conditions in certain areas.
Under the new Licensing Laws of 2003, which took effect in 2006, the Company lost this right which was known as the Vintners' Privilege.
Under the new licensing laws, members of the Vintners' Company are exempt from obtaining the professional qualifications necessary for obtaining a personal licence. Further details are obtainable from the Clerk to the Company.
In addition, the Company may grant Free Vintner status to a member who wishes to trade in wine only, under certain conditions and in certain areas. They may display "Free Vintner" signage both inside and outside their premises. Further details are obtainable from the Clerk to the Company and the detailed rules are included in the Company's Handbook (members only).