EU wine regulation should be watered down in light of Chapel Down’s recent red wine red tape headache, according to food sector specialists Vertex Law.
The Tenterden winery’s plans to sell a tasty tipple made from Argentinian Malbec grapes fell foul of EU legislation.
Restrictive regulations prevented Chapel Down from using the terms ‘wine’ and ‘Malbec’ on the labelling and even corked their plans to sell the product. Instead, the award-winning winery has been forced to mark its new Anglo/Argentinian drink as a ‘fruit-based alcoholic beverage’ and give it away free to customers who buy their other wines.
Kate Mayor, Commercial Lawyer at Kings Hill-based Vertex Law, said: “Chapel Down’s Malbec mishap came about as a result of EU Single Common Marketplace Organisation Regulation No 1234/2007, which sets out the rules on the production of wine either made in the EU or imported into the EU.
“This legislation aims to protect the EU wine sector by ensuring European wine producers are not pushed out of the market in face of rising commercial pressure from imported wines from across the world.
“It provides protection for designations of origin, requires that wine is produced and conserved according with EU laws and makes it a requirement that wine imported into the EU is sold according to agreed international standards.
“Sadly, by importing the grapes from Argentina and making the wine here, Chapel Down fell foul of the regulation which does not allow grapes produced outside of the EU to be made into wine within the EU. It seems ludicrous that a law designed to protect has had the opposite effect, particularly where the intention appears to be only to forge strong cross-border relations and not to flood the market with a cheap wine at the expense of other EU producers. Perhaps it would be helpful for there to be a way of carving out such ventures from the legislation.”
For more information on Vertex Law, visit www.vertexlaw.co.uk.