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Wine News

Information overload a worry for UK wine labels

The way things are going in the current UK debate on wine labels, there is a worry that the consumer will be bombarded with too much information. With health warnings, units of alcohol information, allergens and ingredients clamouring for space, including even a suggestion that the substances used for fining and filtering should be listed, there is concern that there won’t be room to tell consumers why they should buy a wine. Jeremy Beadles, chief executive at the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, told ThirtyFifty that the information, ‘needs to be useful to consumers but we shouldn’t lose the opportunity to tell them why they might enjoy drinking the wine.’

With no EU labelling legislation for such things, the hope is for a voluntary UK standard. Ongoing discussions with the government are concentrating on finding a format to bring some of the current health messages together with a drinking-during-pregnancy warning. The ball is now in the government’s court, but Jeremy said he hoped something would be agreed upon within the next three months.

‘It’s important to have some health information but it has to be cohesive,’ he told ThirtyFifty. Part of the problem is that currently English and Scottish health recommendations aren’t the same. However, even if the agreement goes to plan time wise, it’s likely that it will take 18 months to two years before all bottles come into line, according to Jeremy. But this is the benefit of a voluntary scheme, because trade won’t be hampered in the meantime, so consumers won’t suddenly find they can’t get one of their favourite wines because it’s sitting somewhere waiting for a new legal label.