EUROPE – The European Union (EU) is set to enforce a new regulation, EU Regulation 2021/2117, mandating ingredients and nutrition labeling for wine and wine products beginning December 8, 2023.

Historically exempt from such requirements, wine products will now be subjected to enhanced labeling standards, aligning them with regulations applicable to other foods and beverages.

The revised regulations bring significant changes and requirements to the labeling of wine products, aiming to enhance consumer transparency.

Physical labels are now mandated to display only the energy value, expressed in kilojoules and kilocalories, denoted by an “E.”

Additionally, alcohol content and allergen information must be prominently featured on the physical label.

However, for a comprehensive overview of nutritional content, including fat, carbohydrates, protein, and salt, consumers are directed to access online information.

Producers must provide this information in grams per 100 g or 100 ml of wine, along with the full list of ingredients.

The option to include nutritional content per portion, such as glasses of wine, is voluntary, contingent on indicating the volume of standard glass.

Access to the required online information can be facilitated through methods like a QR code, with a stipulation that it should not lead consumers to web pages with advertising or sales content.

Importantly, the regulations prohibit the collection or tracking of user data through the QR code for accessing this information, ensuring privacy in the process.

Previously, most platforms had websites containing tracking software that could store data about customers who view their e-labels.

Moreover, the content would have to appear in one or more official E.U. language which is easily understood by the consumer to be compliant.

The move aims to enhance transparency and consumer awareness regarding the nutritional content and ingredients of wine products.

While the physical label is limited to specific details, online access ensures comprehensive information without cluttering the packaging.

The regulation reflects a balance between providing consumers with essential data and addressing the unique characteristics of the wine industry.

Although there are certain differences based on the amount of alcohol in the beverage, wines that have had their alcoholic content reduced, or “de-alcoholized,” by a process, are subject to the same rules as regular alcoholic wines.

If the alcohol content is less than 5% by volume, the term “de-alcoholised” (spelled as it appears in the UK) must be mentioned. It may be delivered digitally.

If the alcohol by volume is more than 0.5% but less than the category’s minimal real alcoholic strength prior to de-alcoholization, the term “partially de-alcoholized” may be used.

A significant distinction is that the date of minimum durability must be printed on the physical label and may also be supplied electronically for wines with a strength by volume of less than 10%.

Wine producers must adapt to the new requirements, ensuring compliance with the stipulated regulations by the December 8 deadline.

This revised rule does not apply to beer or spirits. In spite of this, some distillers, like Pernod Ricard, have started voluntarily sharing nutritional data through QR codes.

The industry may witness a shift in labeling practices, with producers deciding on the most effective means of presenting information while adhering to the specified guidelines.

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