With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for wine consumers.
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The identity and reputation of EU wine regions are protected through the EU’s geographical indications (GI), which are recorded in something called the E-Bacchus register. GIs are intended to protect consumers from misleading marketing. They also provide information to consumers on the origin of the wine and grape varieties used. In addition, the European Commission keeps a list of wine grape varieties that countries have agreed may be grown on their soil. This list runs into the thousands and reflects the huge diversity of EU wine regions.
On average, EU consumers account for over half of all wine consumption worldwide. Consumers have become increasingly health-conscious, prompting demand for more detailed information on wine labels. EU law in this area is designed to ensure that consumers are properly informed about what they eat and drink. However, drinks with an alcohol content above 1.2 % are exempt from rules on ingredients listing, for example, or on providing information on sugar levels and calories.
In response to this exemption, and to the fact that some EU countries have additional labelling requirements for alcoholic drinks, the European Parliament adopted a resolution in 2015 calling on the European Commission to propose EU rules for the indication of the calorie content of alcoholic beverages. In March 2017, the Commission told EU wine producers that they had one year to come up with a self-regulatory scheme aimed at providing consumers with information about the ingredients present in alcoholic drinks and their nutritional value.
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- European Commission press release, http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-551_en.htm
- EU Regulation on food labelling, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32011R1169&from=EN
- European Commission’s Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development website, http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/markets/wine/e-bacchus/
- European Commission report on mandatory labelling of ingredients and nutrition declaration of alcoholic beverages, https://ec.europa.eu/food/sites/food/files/safety/docs/fs_labelling-nutrition_legis_alcohol-report_en.pdf