Under the new draft regulation, which itself relates to wine reforms adopted by the European Council back in 2007, the ban on the method of producing rose through blending red and white wines will be lifted by 1 August this year.
The decision will bring European manufacturers in line with the approved practices of Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) that had already allowed producers from outside the EU to export their own blended products into the bloc.
Under the Commission’s ‘appellation’ wines system that protects certain trademarks by requiring specific geographical or production criteria to be met, some blended wines are already allowed.
French rose champagne was one such example of a product sometimes produced from blending together wines, while a derogation had also existed allowing Spanish table wine to be blended and marketed up uncoil 2004, said the Commission.
Although member states will remain committed to protecting such appellations in the future, the draft regulations are being targeted at improving the competitiveness of the European wine sector.
“Since the main objective of the reform is to strengthen the competitiveness of European wines, producers should be given the same opportunities as those in third countries,” stated the commission. “Following wide-ranging discussions with stakeholders and the Member States launched last autumn, the Commission came out in favour, last January, with the Member States’ support, of the abolition of the ban on blending.”
In a bid to offset potential concerns lifting the ban, the regulations also set out a new standard for wine labelling by creating two separate designations for products.
According to the EC, these will require products to be labelled either as a ‘traditional rose’ or ‘rose by blending’ for products that are derived from red and white wines.
“Where a member state wishes to use a specific term other than ‘traditional rose’, the Commission is willing to open discussion at any time to replace this expression or extend the range of specific terms,” stated the Commission.
The draft regulations, which will be forwarded to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) under the requirements of its ‘technical barriers to trade’ notification, are expected to be formally adopted by 1 August 2009.