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Deadline for digital nutritional wine labels in the EU approaches

Published:  13 November, 2023

Digital nutritional wine labels, accessible via QR Codes, will become mandatory in the EU on 8 December, meaning that UK businesses exporting or reexporting to this market have just under one month to ensure compliance.

The EU’s newest modification to labelling laws is the largest of its kind in over a century and will usher in a new era of digital communication in terms of the way consumers access product information.

From next month, all wine being sold within the EU’s 27 member states, including wine made in the UK, must include full ingredient and nutritional information in the same way as any processed food product (spirits and beer for now, remain exempt).

The information must be in plain sight via physical and/or digital labels, along with any other ingredient added during the winemaking process, including the late-stage addition of sugar, acidifiers or stabilisers.

Paul Brannon, associate at communications firm Admiral Consultancy, explained to Harpers: “Due to its ability to alter in composition, wine has until now remained exempt from such strict ingredient labelling requirements, with the obligation only to display allergens and energy value.

“This new change implies extensive changes to wine labels, requiring far more information than at present… The solution to recording the most up-to-date ingredient information lies with the introduction of unique 2D codes, especially the QR, of a dynamic nature, which are printed at or as close to the production line as possible.”

It’s a major change and one that has a lot to do with highly politicised debates around cancer prevention, health and reducing alcohol related harms, which have intensified rapidly within the EU over the past 18 months. In February 2022, the EU Parliament almost voted to enforce stronger regulations within the alcohol sector, including the introduction of compulsory health warnings. In the end, this measure was downgraded and producers were instead only compelled to include information regarding ‘moderate and responsible consumption’.

As digital wine labels become mandatory for wines sold in the EU, OENsights, the ‘digital toolkit for wine professionals’, is offering its own solution.

It has introduced its new flexyQR service – dynamic QR codes which can be re-programmed manually or via automated rules, ensuring that wine shipments carry up-to-date, EU compliant information.

For more information, refer to the upcoming QR Codes & EU Digital Wine Labels masterclass by OENsights on 23 November.