Réglementation étiquettes vin

New Wine Labeling Regulations in 2023: Understanding the Changes and Their Impacts

Understanding the Wine Labeling Regulations 2023

The wine labeling reform, the fruit of several years of discussion, came into force on December 8, 2023. This reform requires wines, whether packaged in bottles, BIBs or sold in bulk, to declare their nutritional value and list their ingredients. The aim is to align the information provided on wines with that of other food products, offering greater transparency for consumers. The list of ingredients can be provided in electronic form, and the nutritional declaration can be limited to the energy value, provided that the full information is available online. The wine industry is moving towards the use of QR codes on bottles. Wines produced and labeled before December 8, 2023 will not be subject to these new obligations, and may be marketed while stocks last.

Why a new regulation for wine in 2023?

The aim of this measure is to provide consumers with complete and transparent information on what they consume, in line with current expectations in terms of food product knowledge. It responds to a growing demand for transparency and responsibility in the food industry.

What additives can consumers expect to find on labels?

In the context of conventional viticulture, up to 47 synthetic additives are authorized. These include yeast to stimulate lazy fermentation, acids to acidify the wine, tannins to give it body, and oak chips for a woody taste without the use of barrels. Among the most common additives, even permitted in organic and biodynamic agriculture, are egg white (or albumin) and sulfur (or sulfites). Egg white is used to clarify the wine and remove the last lees - it is eliminated before bottling. Sulfur stabilizes the wine and protects it from oxidation.

What are the implications for wine professionals?

Wine professionals emphasize the complexity of wine labeling, as ingredients can vary according to vintage, blending and producer choices. Wine, being a living product, may require the addition of ingredients and additives to preserve its qualities. These additions can vary, even within the same cuvée (depending on shipping methods (export), for example, to ensure preservation of the wine during transport), making direct labelling on the containers sometimes difficult. To ensure reliable information, precise traceability of ingredients from harvest to bottling will be necessary.

What impact will this have on the market?

Will consumers' expectations and perceptions of wine change? How will they react when they discover the names of certain ingredients? Will we see a rise in natural or biodynamic wines with shorter ingredient lists? It's still too early to say. In any case, other more mature markets suggest that this trend will take time to develop, and that simply communicating ingredients will not be enough to transform consumer expectations. In cosmetics, for example, the INCI ingredient list imposed on all products at European level in 1998 didn't actually change much over the first 15 years. It wasn't until organic brands positioned themselves in this niche and invested in a discourse decrying the traditional industry that consumers began to take an interest in ingredients. Apps like Yuka have greatly accelerated the process, offering consumers a simplified, easy-to-understand reading grid, first for the food market and then for cosmetics. In the case of food products, the impact on producers has been considerable, regularly requiring them to change their recipes and industrial processes to meet their customers' new need for naturalness. For example, Liebig's advertising campaign thanked its customers for "growing their soups", making amends for past practices.

Les Grappes' point of view

At Les Grappes, we support this initiative towards greater transparency: it is aligned with the deep aspirations of consumers in 2023, who increasingly want to know what they are consuming and be able to choose between different alternatives based on objective criteria. We are convinced that this step forward will benefit the market by enabling the wine industry to catch up with the standards of the rest of the food industry, and thus be perceived as more modern.

At Les Grappes, we nevertheless insist on the need to educate consumers by providing them with the means to interpret this information correctly: the presence of additives does not call into question the natural character of wine. It is essential to understand that these additives, often in small quantities, serve to protect and perfect the wine. It is therefore essential to take the time to explain this to consumers, or to provide them with simplified but honest and transparent guidelines to help them make their choice.

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