EUROPE – New labelling laws set to fundamentally change how wine slated for the EU market are packaged are sending jitters across the industry with trade lobbyists calling for their immediate suspension to avoid “market disruption.” 

The new EU Regulation 2021/2117 slated to take effect on December 8, 2023, requires wine makers to include information on ingredients, allergens, and nutritional content on all the bottles of wine sold in the 27-member economic union. 

The law further implied that the use of the symbol ‘i’ to signify ‘information’ is not sufficient, as it does not make the contents of the product clear. 

The regulation proposes the use of dynamic 2D codes to provide real-time access to detailed product data, rather than listing all required information on the printed wine label. 

According to the EU, failure to comply with the new regulations may result in fines, penalties, product recalls, and potential loss of certification for winemakers. 

Non-compliant products may be restricted from certain markets within the European Union, with winemakers also facing legal implications and reputational damage. 

The wine industry through their lobby group Comite Europeen des Entreprises Vins (CEEV) are however concerned that the changes would have severe consequences on their business.  

CEEV says that some “hundreds of millions of labels” could go to waste as most producers had already chosen to use the registered ISO 2760 ‘i’ symbol due to it being globally recognised as standing for ‘information’. 

With the wine labelling law coming into play next week, the CEEV has called for an “urgent” suspension to avoid overall “disruption of the wine market”.  

The trade union requested for an adjustment period, saying the two weeks the proposed adjustments would be near-impossible. 

Based on its projections, the time needed to redesign, re-print the labels, and change the format of the QR code could take more than a year. 

CEEV president Mauricio González Gordon said, “We cannot accept a new interpretation, published 14 days before the date of application, that will imply, on the one hand, the destruction of hundreds of millions of labels already printed and, on the other, our incapacity to print new labels in time to comply with the new regulation deadline.”