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Brussels: water in wines with designation of origin?

Coldiretti responds to European Commission's proposal

"Removing alcohol from wine and adding water is the latest Brussels gimmick for the wine sector already under attack with the proposal to introduce alarmist labels to discourage its consumption foreseen in the communication on the action plan to improve the health of European citizens". This is what Coldiretti affirms in unveiling the contents of the document of the presidency of the EU Council of Ministers in which the practice of partial and total alcohol removal of wines is addressed. The proposal envisages authorizing the total or partial elimination of alcohol in the context of oenological practices, with the possibility of adding water to wines with a designation of origin as well.

The association explains that in this way it is still allowed to call wine, a product in which the characteristics of naturalness have been completely compromised due to the invasive treatment that intervenes in the centuries-old process of transformation of grapes into must and then into wine. "A legalized deception for consumers who find themselves paying for water like wine". "The introduction of partial and total alcohol removal as new oenological practices represents a big risk and a very dangerous precedent that would seriously jeopardize the identity of Italian and European wine, also because the 'natural' and legal definition of wine in force in Europe provides for a ban on adding water", says the president of Coldiretti Ettore Prandini in underlining that the commitment to stop a dangerous drift that risks compromising the main voice of national agri-food exports which overall generates a turnover of over 11 billion in Italy and abroad.

A danger that is part of a worrying Community context for the sector with the EU Commission that could introduce health alarms in the labels of alcoholic beverages as well as for cigarettes as part of the prevention activity of the new action plan to improve health of European citizens and even eliminate wine from agri-food product promotion programs, perhaps to encourage new watered-down drinks. "The proposal to add water to wine is just the latest of the deceptions authorized by the European Union which already allows the addition of sugar in the countries of Northern Europe to increase the alcohol content of the wine, while sugaring has always been prohibited in the countries of Mediterranean and in Italy, which fought a battle to prevent a 'cellar trick' and to definitively affirm the definition of wine as a product made entirely from grapes. But Brussels has also given the green light to wine 'without grapes'. from the fermentation of fruit, from raspberries to currants. An oenological practice that alters the very nature of the wine which historically and traditionally is only that entirely obtained from grapes", explains a press release.

The worrying news also comes at a difficult time for the sector due to the dramatic drop in the consumption of made in Italy wine abroad, which reaches an all-time low for over 30 years due to the 20% drop in exports in 2021, according to Coldiretti analysis on Istat data in January with Italy being the world's leading wine exporter. However, Italy is confirmed as the first world producer with 49.1 million hectoliters and also the first exporter in both still and sparkling wines with a total of 20.8 million hectoliters, ahead of Spain with 20.2 and France with 13.8.

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EFA News - European Food Agency
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