European wine launches digital labelling initiative
At the end of September 2021, the European Wine and Spirit Industries launched its new joint initiative to provide consumers with information about wine and spirit products via an e-label. The new “U-label” tool provides a platform for companies to provide information about the products linked to QR code technology on-label and easily accessible for consumers.
This process has been underway for some time, with new European Union (EU) labelling rules applicable to wine being introduced under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The CAP rules will be adopted by the EU in Fall 2021 and will include a two year transition period (by November 2023), following their adoption. Once these rules are in force, they will mandate that any wine products commercialised in the EU market (including imported wines), will have to communicate a list of its ingredients, including full nutrition declaration either on-label or online. It is expected that all wine will still be required to provide limited energy value on-label, accompanying the U-label linked to broader information.
Thailand Certificate of Analysis
Following bilateral engagement with Thailand, the United States (US) Government has been successful in gaining permission for US wine exports into Thailand by using a simplified certificate, the APEC model Wine Export Certificate instead of the incredibly onerous Thai Certificate of Analysis. This means that US wine exported to Thailand is no longer required to undertake additional testing, as currently required by the Thai Certificate of Analysis.
This breakthrough is something that the United States, Australia and others have been discussing with the Thai authorities for several years, through the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) wine regulatory forum, and bilaterally. It has now been achieved by the US and, in theory, these same benefits should also be applicable to Australian wine exports.
Australian Grape & Wine is currently pursuing similar arrangements for Australian wine exports. We are working with the Australian and US Government’s to approach Thai regulatory authorities and seek the same provisions for Australian wine. If this is successful, it will significantly lessen the cost and time burden of testing for wine exported to Thailand – a key priority market for diversifying our exports.
Australian Grape & Wine continues to work with AWRI, Wine Australia and our winegrape growers through our Technical and Vignerons committees to monitor and respond to global issue changes to MRLs and withdrawal of agrochemicals.
By far, the largest source of these regular changes to market requirements comes from the European Union (EU), with their rolling system of review of active substances and a strong overarching aim to broadly reduce use under the Farm to Fork strategy. These changes often influence our own use of agrochemicals and recommendations released each year in the AWRI’s Dog Book.
A useful resource which we often use to assist monitoring and assessing the implications for our sector, is the United States Department of Agricultures (USDA) published “EU Early Alerts”. The latest consolidated version of this report was released in September 2021 and can be found here.
We would encourage all winegrape growers to take a look at the report as part of their own planning and vineyard management and please engage with us to raise any comments on your priorities in this space.