As more and more wine companies were recently acquainted with regulation EU 2021/2117 requiring nutrition and ingredient information on wine sold in the E.U., it became clear that several important details about labeling and the requirements were missing. Questions about where to display allergen information and how to account for additives and dosing in champagne have remained unanswered.
In January 2023, a draft regulation related to 2021/2117 and several other relevant regulations was released and made available for public comment with an expected final version due somewhere around mid-2023. This new draft mostly provides guidance for very specific situations not relevant to most winemakers, but there are some notable clarifications.
Below are a few of the key changes in the draft regulation along with the related implications for compliance.
“The specific characteristics of grapevine products and the specific processes and timing of their production,” will need to be included on wine labels according to this latest draft. It’s important to know that just as it was provided for in regulation EU 2021/2117 to include much of the new requirement information electronically, the timing of production information can be provided electronically for companies to be in compliance. The draft law indicates that it will be required to include this information in the final law, though it leaves out details like what exactly “process and timing information” includes.
For wines that have been dealcoholized to less than 10%, regulation (EU) 2021/2117 stated that the minimum product durability had to be shared along with the product. This is related as compulsory in regulation (EU) No 1308/2013. The notable update in the draft law is that the minimum product durability, or an expiration date, does not need to be in the same field of vision as the particulars that are required on the label as Article 119 of Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013. Being in compliance with this aspect of the regulations will require assessment of the particularities related to any one winery, especially with regard to the type of wine product being labeled.
Allergens and intolerances are required to be printed on the product label. This information must also appear alongside the ingredients wherever they appear, including electronic formats. So in the event that you include ingredients in the e-label, allergens and intolerances must be included there as well.
Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/934 includes a table that lists stabilizers and acidity regulators that wine makers frequently use. The draft regulation takes a sympathetic tone when it comes to what additives are included in wines but are hard to track from bottle to bottle and so offers a practical rule for what needs to be listed on labels. Often winemakers will have different additives used in wines that are the same type of wine and even the same lot without any reasonable way to distinguish which bottles have the additives and which don’t have them. Requiring labels that include strictly accurate representations of the additives in a wine would require many wine label changes which alone would add to unreasonable production overhead costs. The response designated in the regulation is that the wine ingredient list can include an exhaustive list of additives and not just the exact additives in any particular bottle or batch. The list would include any additives that would potentially make it into the final product. This should be interpreted strictly and reflected in both printed and electronic formats.
There were some designation rules that were previously specified in Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/33 that have become irrelevant due to the fact that the UK is no longer in the EU. Any particulars that assumed the UK as part of the EU will be deleted from the current EU regulations.
Clear statements about changes to designation of origin rules for wine product labels are made in the amendment. For example, Pedro Ximénez vine variety derived wines are stated to be allowed to include those wines from the ‘Condado de Huelva’, ‘Málaga’, ‘Jerez-Xérès-Sherry’, and ‘Montilla-Moriles’ regions. The purpose of this change is explained as necessary to clear up overlapping and conflicting information found in Article 5(3) of Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/33 and Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/934 by updating and amending Article 5(3) of Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/33. In summary, the major change is stating that the relevant protected origin provenance also includes ‘Condado de Huelva’. While this information is particularly important for those companies that produce, bottle, and sell liqueur wines with origin in the mentioned regions, it is worth noting that this information is not particularly relevant for wineries in all other regions. That doesn’t mean there aren’t more widely applicable regulation updates in this draft. The following is a summary of the more widely relevant changes.
This latest draft regulation is not a standalone update to the new EU wine regulations. It does help in making the label requirements more clear though. At the moment, wine industry businesses will find it in their best interest to begin or continue preparations of their wines and shipments for the new law implementation as soon as possible. The new regulations are effective and enforceable, from Dec 8, 2023 and the latest draft regulations will have been ratified sometime around the end of May, 2023.