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EU ruling puts low-alcohol wine on UK shelves

Published:  06 November, 2008

A new EU ruling will see more low alcohol wines on UK shelves.

A new EU ruling will see more low alcohol wines on UK shelves.

The ruling will permit reduced alcohol wines made using spinning cone and reverse osmosis techniques to be marketed throughout Europe.

The new ruling comes into force this month and carries a number of conditions; for example the use of experimental practice must be noted on both the accompanying documentation and wine-making records. The European Commission must be notified of the product and process used.

Producers will still be restricted from reducing the alcohol content of the wine by any more than 2% using these wine making practices.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has been campaigning for the change for the past 18 months.

Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the WSTA, said: "We are delighted that the European Commission has changed the rules to allow producers and retailers the opportunity to offer customers a wider range of reduced alcohol wines.

"Customers have been saying for some time that they want more choice and these rule-changes should allow the industry to meet that demand."

The practice of spinning wine to remove part of its alcohol content was brought into the spotlight last year when the Food Standards Agency (FSA) called for the banning 8% Sovio wine from UK wine lists.

The FSA said that Sovio breached EU law by shipping its wine to Spain, where the alcohol could be legally removed, but then exporting it to the UK, which breached EU rules.