Low Alcohol Wine is not Wine, according to Community law…..

18 Mar 2009

R (on the application of Sovio Wines Ltd) v Food Standards Agency [2009] EWHC 382 (Admin)

The High Court recently upheld the decision of the Food Standards Agency to seize a consignment of partially de-alcoholised wine which was manufactured using an unauthorised oenological process and was labelled as Spanish semi-sparkling wine. Rebecca Haynes, acting for the Agency, successfully defended a judicial review brought on the principal ground that since the Sovio product did not satisfy the definition of semi-sparkling wine contained in the Community Wine Regulation (having an alcohol content of less than 8%), the Agency had no jurisdiction to take action in respect of it. The Court held that the Wine Regulation clearly applied to goods purporting to be wine products and applied a prohibition of the use of the “wine” or “semi-sparkling wine” denomination to any product which failed to meet the Community definition of wine terms. The Claimant also failed to persuade the Court that the Agency was bound by a statement of another public body, Cheshire Trading Standards, erroneously indicating that the labelling was fully compliant with relevant labelling legislation.

For the High Court judgment, please click here.

Please click below for more information on:
Rebecca Haynes