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Aromatized drinks

The European Union (EU) finalises the general provisions applicable to foodstuffs in order to better inform consumers about the aromatized drinks on the market, without neglecting the quality of these products. The new common rules concern the definition, description, labelling and presentation of aromatized drinks.


Council Regulation (EEC) No 1601/91 of 10 June 1991 laying down general rules on the definition, description and presentation of aromatized wines, aromatized wine-based drinks and aromatized wine-product cocktails [See amending act(s)].


This Regulation distinguishes between three categories of aromatized drinks according to their wine content, their alcoholic strength, and whether or not they contain added alcohol.

Aromatized drinks

This Regulation covers aromatized drinks, specifically:

  • aromatized wines (vermouth, bitter aromatized wine, egg-based aromatized wine, väkevä viiniglögiStarkvinsglögg, etc.);
  • aromatized wine-based drinks (sangria, bitter soda, Glühwein, etc.);
  • aromatized wine-product cocktails.

The use of water in the preparation of these drinks is authorized provided that the quality of the water complies with the provisions of the Directive on natural mineral waters. The list of authorised additives and their use are laid down in accordance with the Regulation on food additives.

The oenological practices and processes applicable to wines and grape must, which are involved in the composition of aromatized drinks, are laid down in Regulation (EC) No 491/2009.

The ethyl alcohol used to dilute or dissolve authorized additives must be of agricultural origin and its use limited to a strict minimum.


The designations of aromatized drinks laid down in this Regulation are mandatory and reserved exclusively for these drinks. Since the reputation of certain drinks is closely linked with their traditional place of origin, it is compulsory to indicate the place of origin in cases where the drink does not originate in the region where it is traditionally produced.

Aromatized drinks which do not comply with the Regulations may not be marketed using terms such as ‘style’, ’type’, ‘flavour’ or similar indications associating them with one of the designations laid down in the Regulation.

The Member States are responsible under certain conditions for preventing the incorrect use within the EU of a geographical indication protected by a third country which is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Labelling and presentation

Aromatized drinks are subject to the general rules established by Directive 2000/13/EC on foodstuffs. However, taking into account the nature of these drinks, complementary provisions have been laid down in this Regulation.

The sale and placing into circulation of all aromatized drinks in bottles whose closing device is covered with a lead-based capsule or foil was banned from 1 January 1993 onwards.

Aromatized drinks exported to third countries must comply with this Regulation.

Member States ensure the provisions applicable to aromatized drinks are complied with by appointing one or more monitoring agencies. The Member States and the Commission must communicate to each other the necessary data.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EEC) No 1601/91



OJ L 149 of 14.6.1991

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EEC) No 3279/92



OJ L 327 of 13.11.1992

Regulation (EC) No 3378/94


OJ L 366 of 31.12.1994

Decision 95/1/EC



OJ L 1 of 1.1.1995

Regulation (EC) No 2061/96



OJ L 277 of 30.10.1996

Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003



OJ L 284 of 31.10.2003

Act of Accession for Bulgaria and Romania



OJ L 157 of 21.6.2005

Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008



OJ L 354 of 31.12.2008

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EEC) No 1601/91 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Last updated: 06.01.2011
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