Newly passed regulation for organic wine sold or made in the EU will ensure that the whole process of wine production ‘from grape to bottle’ respects organic methods.
BioGro’s CEO Dr Michelle Glogau explains, “Until now the EU has had no rules for or definition of ‘organic wine’. The only claim our certified organic wine producers could make was that their wine was ‘made from organic grapes’”.
The new rules mean that organic wine producers can state ‘organic wine’ on their labelling. This is in keeping with other markets’ regulations, e.g. the US, and is “a huge marketing advantage for NZ winemakers committed to organic principles” Dr Glogau adds.
Before the recent changes were passed, grapes had to be grown according to the principles laid down by the EU’s organic regulations. However when it came to wine-making practices the rules for organic wine makers were the same as those for conventional wine makers.
The change in regulation is a first step. The market access programme for organic producers exporting to the EU (i.e. MAF Official Organic Assurance Programme) is yet to include wine making in its standards. From here, MAF is in a position to negotiate with the EU for wine making to be included in the scope of its equivalence programme.
Alternatively, but not BioGro’s preference, is for BioGro to apply directly to the EU for organic wine production to be included in its equivalence programme.
The new regulation agreed by the Standing Committee on Organic Farming (SCOF) has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The new regulation will come into force on the 1st August 2012. However wine produced before 31st July 2012 will need to labelled as ‘made with organic grapes’.
As part of the consultation process on the EU’s wine making requirements, BioGro made a submission on behalf of its certified organic wine producers.
To claim that wine is ‘organic’ after 1st August 2012producers will need to meet specific wine making requirements. For example, sorbic acid and desulfurication will not be allowed. The maximum sulphite contentin organic wine has been set at 100 mg per litre for red wine (150 mg/l for conventional) and 150mg/l for white/rosé (200 mg/l for conventional) with a 30mg/l differential where the residual sugar contentis more than 2g per litre.
As for all other organic products, it is compulsory for organic wine produced in the EU to carry the EU’s organic logo. Organic wine producers outside the EU, can choose to use the EU’s organic logo alongside a private certification logo such as BioGro’s.