Ways around wine labelling

Barnaby Eales looks at how the front labels of some wines can suggest one origin, when the wine really comes from somewhere else.

Photo by Dan-Cristian Pădureț on Unsplash
Photo by Dan-Cristian Pădureț on Unsplash

While French symbols including the fleur-de-lis and the Gallic rooster were featured prominently on the wine packaging, the designated origin on the back labels read ‘Made in Spain’ or ‘European Union wines’, often in a way that was hard for consumers to read. 

Such were the examples of misleading wine labels cited in a French state consumer, competition and anti-fraud agency investigation into non-Geographical Indication (GIs) imported wines, published in 2018. Its findings have led the French government to contemplate a move to toughen legislation on misleading wine labels, as part of a consumer protection law concerning information transparency on agricultural and food products. 

New legislation would include new wine labelling rules for wines sold by the glass and in carafes in hotels and restaurants and cafes, France’s Ministry of the Economy and Finances told the French Senate in February this year.

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