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Labelling of wine and certain other wine sector products

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The labelling of wine products must indicate certain characteristics, such as the alcohol content and the presence of sulphites, where applicable. In addition, specific rules govern the labelling of various wine-sector products, providing for compulsory and optional information on the labelling of each category of product.

ACT

Commission Regulation (EC) No 753/2002 of 29 April 2002 laying down certain rules for applying Council Regulation (EC) No 1493/1999 as regards the description, designation, presentation and protection of certain wine sector products [See amending acts].

SUMMARY

This Regulation is designed to protect consumers' and producers' interests and lays down certain rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 1493/1999 on the common organisation of the market in wine.

This Regulation does not apply to:

  • wine sector products not intended for direct human consumption;
  • some quality wines produced in a specified region ("psr") aged in the bottle;
  • terms referring to the organic production of grapes, which are governed by Council Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91. Compulsory items on labels

The labelling of wine, including all table wines, quality wines produced in a specified region (quality wines psr), liqueur wines, all sparkling wines and wines from third countries, must provide the following information:

  • the sales designation of the product (the information will vary depending on the wine);
  • the nominal volume;
  • the actual alcoholic strength by volume, followed by the symbols "% vol" and optionally preceded by the words "actual alcoholic strength" or "actual alcohol" or "alc";
  • the lot number;
  • the presence of sulphites, if any.

It is also compulsory to indicate the presence of sulphites, if any (pdf), and the other ingredients listed in the Directive on food labelling.

All the compulsory particulars must be indicated in the same visual field on the bottle and be clearly legible. However, the references to the ingredients, the lot number and the importer, where applicable, may appear outside this visual field. The other, additional information that may be indicated on the labelling must be clearly distinguishable from the compulsory particulars referred to above.

Other information must also appear on the labelling, depending on the type of wine.

Table wines and quality wines psr.

The sales designation for these products is "table wine" and must indicate whether the product is a blend of wines from more than one Member State or whether it has been produced from grapes harvested in another Member State. The labelling must also indicate the name of the bottler, the consignor or the importer.

  • The labelling of these products may also give an indication of the persons involved in marketing, the type of wine ("dry", "medium dry", "medium sweet" or "sweet", depending on its residual sugar content) and its colour.

Table wines with a geographical indication

In addition to "table wine", the sales designation for these products must also include the name of the geographical unit of origin (each Member State must forward a list of its geographical units to the Commission at regular intervals).

The Regulation lists the information referring to the geographical indications in the Member States concerned (Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Luxembourg, Spain, Greece, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Hungary, Malta, Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria).

Quality wines psr

The sales designation for these products comprises the name of the specified region, particulars defining the product (such as "quality wine produced in a specified region" or "quality liqueur wine produced in a specified region") and a traditional specific term. In this respect, the Regulation lists:

  • the traditional specific terms supplementing the sales designation of quality wines psr in the Member States concerned (Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Malta, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania);
  • the traditional specific terms supplementing the sales designation of quality sparkling wines psr in the Member States concerned (Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Malta, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania).

The following wines may be marketed indicating the name of the region only: "Samos" (Greece); "Cava", "Jerez" or "Xerès" or "Sherry" and "Manzanilla" (Spain); "Champagne" (France); "Asti", "Marsala", "Franciacorta" (Italy); and "Madeira" or "Madère", "Porto" or "Port" (Portugal).

Table wines with a geographical indication and quality wines psr

In addition to the compulsory particulars laid down for table wines, the labelling of these products may also include other particulars such as:

  • the vintage year. For this information to be able to be included, at least 85% of the grapes must have been harvested in the year indicated;
  • the name of the vine varieties used may be given. The varieties must meet a number of requirements: for example, they must appear in the variety classification drawn up by the Member States. Annex II to the Regulation contains a detailed list of varieties derogating from this rule;
  • awards and medals obtained in authorised competitions;
  • additional traditional terms. These terms, which are listed in Annex II to the Regulation, are protected against any misuse or any other practice liable to mislead the consumer. They must be specific in themselves and be defined in the legislation of the Member State concerned, be distinctive and/or enjoy an established reputation in the EU, have been traditionally used for at least ten years in the Member State concerned and be used for one or more EU wines or categories of EU wine. They are not the same as designations of origin, which are also protected against any misuse or imitation (for further information on the system for the protection and use of agri-food products, please see the Directorate-General for Agriculture website).

The term "oak-cask aged" or similar expressions may not be used to describe wines that have been produced with the aid of oak chips.

New wines still in fermentation and grape musts

The sales designation of these products comprises a definition of the product and other terms as regulated by the Member State and communicated to the Commission.

Labels for such wines and musts should also include:

  • the bottler's and the consignor's name or business name;
  • the importer's or the bottler's name (for export products);
  • the density (for grape musts and concentrated grape musts).

Optional information on labels

Partially fermented grape musts and wine made from overripe grapes produced in the EU may include a geographical name or a specific traditional name.

Table wines with a geographical indication and quality wines "psr"

Table wines with a geographical indication and quality wines "psr" may carry the vintage year, provided that at least 85% of the grapes were harvested in that year.

They may mention the vine varieties used. These varieties must be in the variety classification drawn up for the Member States and match the varieties indicated for each wine.

The indication "oak-cask aged" or similar expressions may not be used to describe wines that have been produced with the aid of oak chips.

Traditional terms

Traditional terms used in the Member States are protected against any misuse or indication that might mislead the consumer. As a rule traditional terms are linked to a specific country (see section on "related acts" below).

For traditional terms to be considered as such they must:

  • be specific and clearly defined in the Member State's legislation;
  • be distinctive and/or of renown in the EU;
  • have been used in the Member State traditionally for at least ten years;
  • be linked to one or more EU wines or wine categories.

The labelling of partially fermented grape musts and wine made from overripe grapes produced in the European Union may also include other, optional information, including an indication of the persons involved in marketing, the type and colour of the product.

Certain musts and new wines may also be designated by a geographical indication comprising the name of the geographical unit and a traditional specific term.

Imported products

The labelling of wines from third countries must mention the country of origin and the original name, and indicate whether the product is a blend of wines and whether the grapes were harvested in another country. This may be supplemented by references to the persons involved in marketing the product, the type of product and its colour. Other information, including the vintage year, the vine varieties and any awards, are optional.

The Commission may grant third countries the right to use bottles reserved for certain Community products provided the product meets specific requirements.

Liqueur wines and sparkling wines

The sales designation of these products comprises a definition of the product (such as "liqueur wine" or "sparkling wine"). In the case of aerated semi-sparkling wines, it must be clearly stated that they have been obtained by adding carbon dioxide. Their label must also mention the bottler or consignor (in the case of containers with a nominal volume of more than 60 litres) or the winemaker (in the case of semi-sparkling wines).

Where a geographical indication also appears on the labelling, the sales designation must also include the name of the geographical unit and a traditional specific term.

Exemptions from the labelling requirement

In certain cases Member States may derogate from the labelling requirement where the wine placed on the market is in containers with a capacity of 60 litres or more. Ad hoc derogations from the labelling requirement may also be granted for certain quality wines psr and quality sparkling wines psr.

Bottles

Annex I to the Regulation lists the types of bottle whose use is restricted to certain products.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into force - Date of expiryDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EC) No 753/200211.5.200211.5.2002 partial application
1.8.2005
OJ L 118 of 4.5.2002

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EC) No 2086/200229.11.2002-OJ L 321 of 26.11.2002
Regulation (EC) No 1205/20038.7.2003-OJ L 168 of 5.7.2003
Regulation (EC) No 316/20041.327.2.2004-OJ L 55 of 24.2.2004
Acts of Accession to the EU of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia.1.5.2004-OJ L 236 of 23.9.2003
Regulation (EC) No 908/20041.5.2004-OJ L 163 of 30.4.2004
Regulation (EC) No 1429/200410.8.2004-OJ L 263 of 10.8.2004
Regulation (EC) No 1991/200423.11.2004-OJ L 344 of 20.11.2004
Regulation (EC) No 1512/200524.9.2005-OJ L 241 of 17.9.2005
Regulation (EC) No 261/200623.2.2006-OJ L 46 of 16.2.2006
Regulation (EC) No 1507/200619.10.2006-OJ L 280 of 12.10.2006
Regulation (EC) No 1951/200629.12.2006-OJ L 367 of 22.12.2006
Regulation (EC) No 2016/20061.1.2007-OJ L 384 of 29.12.2006
Regulation (EC) No 382/200712.4.2007-OJ L 95 of 5.4.2007

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 753/2002 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version (pdf ) is for reference only.

RELATED ACTS

List of names of geographical units smaller than the Member State (pdf) as referred to in Article 51(1) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1493/1999 (Table wines with geographical indication) [published pursuant to Article 28(a) of Commission Regulation (EC) No 753/2002][Official Journal C 19 of 26.1.2006]

Last updated: 20.08.2007

See also

More information on wine and wine products can be found on the Directorate-General for Agriculture website and in the relevant Community legislation.

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