Wine legislation: proposed amendments
Consultation to Amend Retained EU Law to Introduce Rules That Will Govern How Products Marketed As "Ice Wine" Must Be Produced And Make Changes to Permitted Oenological Methods
1. This is a consultation on proposals regarding a definition for ice wine and changes to permitted oenological methods.
2. The first proposal is to amend retained EU law (REUL) relating to the marketing of wine to introduce rules that will regulate how products marketed as "ice wine" must be produced, which will include a definition of ice wine.
3. The second proposal is to amend REUL to update the lists of approved oenological processes, practices and restrictions that can be used to produce wine in GB.
Ice wine production
4. Ice wine is produced in certain colder regions of the world e.g. Canada, Germany etc. where grapes are allowed to freeze naturally on the vine. It is a niche product that is only produced in very small quantities. There is no ice wine production in Scotland or the UK.
5. UK producer interest in this area has been limited to production of wine from artificially frozen grapes. While the outcome of freezing grapes is the same, in that the sugars etc. do not freeze but water does, allowing the extraction of a more sugar concentrated must, it is the natural freezing of the grapes on the vine and their pressing while frozen, and the risks entailed in embarking on this practice (crops are often completely lost) that has given rise to the associated value attached to ice wine.
6. In line with UK Government proposals for England and Wales, the Scottish Government is proposing to amend REUL to introduce rules that will govern how products marketed as 'ice wine' must be produced. The proposed new regulations will mean products could only be marketed as 'ice wine' if they have been produced from grapes harvested when frozen on the vine. Such a definition will ensure consumers can identify ice wine products that are made according to specified criteria that apply to its production.
7. The proposals will enable us to comply with international obligations, including the future accession of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement.
8. We propose the following specification for ice wine: 'Wine may be labelled as icewine, ice wine, ice-wine, or a similar variation of these terms, only if such wine is made exclusively from grapes harvested while naturally frozen on the vine.'
New approved oenological practices
9. REUL sets out details of the oenological practices, processes and restrictions that can be used to produce wine in GB. In 2021, GB joined the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV). Its recommendations form the basis of domestic, EU and many third countries' wine production rules. Compliance with this in turn forms the basis of the quality standards required of wine imported into Great Britain.
10. The OIV adds or removes practices from its recommendations following a 7-step scientific scrutiny process into which GB, EU and other world experts feed. In order to be adopted, the resolution must be approved on a consensual basis; any objection results in the practice falling back to a previous stage for further consideration or development.
11. The proposed oenological changes are to amend Regulation (EU) 2019/934 to update the lists in the Annexes of approved oenological processes, practices and restrictions that can be used to produce wine in GB. This is to reflect updates to the OIV's list of approved methods. This will ensure that our wine producers have access to the latest technological developments and winemaking practices. UK Government are intending to make the same changes for England and Wales.
Rationale for legislating
12. Since the UK is not involved in ice wine production, domestic interests lie with imports and ensuring products placed on the UK market, and claiming to be ice wine, meet the exacting production requirements for ice wines.
13. REUL does not provide a definition for ice wine and as such Ministers are not able to regulate its use on wine, meaning any product using frozen grapes could argue that it is ice wine even if those grapes have been picked and subsequently frozen.
14. To support consumer understanding and to allow the UK to ratify the CPTPP agreement, we need to be able to enforce a definition for ice wine that requires it to be produced from grapes that are frozen naturally on the vine.
New approved oenological practices
15. Compliance with the OIV forms the basis of the quality standards required of wine imported into Great Britain. In order to ensure that standards in Scotland are maintained, it is important for us to update the list of approved oenological practices set out in Regulation (EU) 2019/934. This will ensure that our wine producers have access to the latest technological developments and winemaking practices. This will also protect the standard of product available to consumers.
16. This legislation will ensure a consistency of approach with the EU and across the UK.
17. To legislate on both ice wine and changes to oenological practices, we propose to make regulations amending retained Regulations (EU) 2019/33 and 2019/934 and to bring those into force in July 2024.
18. A full impact assessment has not been produced for this instrument as no, or no significant, impact on the private, voluntary or public sector is foreseen.
You are invited to advise:
a) will the proposed changes on ice wine have a positive or negative impact on your business:
b) will the proposed changes on oenological practices have a positive or negative impact on your business:
19. Please explain your response and let us know if you have any further comments.
20. Responding to this Consultation
We are inviting responses to this consultation by 11 October 2023.
Please respond to this consultation using the Scottish Government's consultation hub, Citizen Space (http://consult.gov.scot). Access and respond to this consultation online at . You can save and return to your responses while the consultation is still open. Please ensure that consultation responses are submitted before the closing date of 11 October 2023.
If you are unable to respond using our consultation hub, please complete the Respondent Information Form to:
Food and Drink Division
Handling your response
If you respond using the consultation hub, you will be directed to the About You page before submitting your response. Please indicate how you wish your response to be handled and, in particular, whether you are content for your response to published. If you ask for your response not to be published, we will regard it as confidential, and we will treat it accordingly.
All respondents should be aware that the Scottish Government is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and would therefore have to consider any request made to it under the Act for information relating to responses made to this consultation exercise.
If you are unable to respond via Citizen Space, please complete and return the Respondent Information Form included in this document.
Next steps in the process
Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public, and after we have checked that they contain no potentially defamatory material, responses will be made available to the public at http://consult.gov.scot. If you use the consultation hub to respond, you will receive a copy of your response via email.
Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence to help us. Responses will be published where we have been given permission to do so. An analysis report will also be made available.
Comments and complaints
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please send them to the contact address above or at email@example.com.
Scottish Government consultation process
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