Last week I got a DM. "Wine ingredients on the label. It's here."
Well, not so fast.
It is true that on March 31st, the EU Parliament did vote for a new wine label law. The changes were championed by anti-alcohol docs and health care workers. Their aim was more to raise awareness among under-age binge drinkers thirsty for alcopops. The wine ingredient list was given the go ahead in the same breath
There's been consensus among the natural set that what the world needs now, after world peace and a few other choice essentials, is a wine ingredient list. Yup. I'm one of them. How else can an unsuspecting drinker know to avoid added tannin or gum arabic if they want to?
In the US? It might happen after I die at 104. Maybe. Right now, our governemental mental wisdom is to think along the lines of calorie count and nutrition. Right, that's what everyone wants to know when drinking a glass of Cathy Corison. Right?
Below are the possible options.
- Sub-option 3a): exempting all alcoholic beverages from compulsory ingredient listing
This option would put an end to the current legal inconsistency by changing the legislation to bring it in line with the current reality that has existed, without apparent problems, for nearly 30 years, where alcoholic drinks do not list their ingredients.
- Sub-option 3b): exempting alcoholic beverages in general from compulsory ingredient listing but creating and making operational a labelling requirement for beverages resulting from a mixture of alcoholic beverages with non alcoholic beverages.
This option would mean that only ready to drink pre-mixed alcoholic beverages (commonly called alcopops), would be required to label their ingredients.
- Sub-option 3c): creating and making operational a labelling requirement of ingredient listing for alcoholic beverages on basis of specific characteristics of the products and consumers' expectations.
This option would imply that alcoholic beverages would have to label substances or ingredients that are likely to influence the consumer's choice, such as sweeteners, flavourings, colouring agents.
But I'm afraid my European friends are being a little too optimistic. After all EU is Big Biz and there are lobbies at work.
The plenary vote which could give the go ahead (or the dismissal or the delay) will take place on April 27-30 in Strasbourg.
My feeling is that part will be approved, perhaps for the pop alcohol drinks, but the ingredient list on wine is too controversial. Big Wine is not ready for the big reveal, and the small person lobby, well, that doesn't exist. Most likely the amendments will be delayed, watered down in the manner of the organic wine law. But as Mr. Jan Jakubov, the press officer from the European Parliament office just told me on the phone, surprises are known to happen.
Well, wouldn't that be fascinating?
Nevertheless, the conversation has been broached. They know that additives are possible, something our beloved BATF is clueless about. But an ingredient list by 2016? I'd say 2060 more likely.