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Uncorking sustainable change with wine labelling regulations

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In the dynamic world of wine, tradition meets innovation. Just as winemakers meticulously craft their creations, new regulations are reshaping the industry. Get ready for the era of mandatory EU nutritional and ingredient labels for wines, a monumental shift that brings transparency and empowers consumers. We’ll guide you through these regulations, helping you leverage them to strengthen your brand, meet compliance, and showcase your commitment to sustainability.

Read Time
4 mins
Jonathan Oon

Mandatory nutritional and ingredient labels

While food and beverages have long revealed nutritional info and ingredients, wines have enjoyed an exemption. But that’s changing. From December 2023, all wine sold in the EU will be placed under equal scrutiny in the most significant update to wine labelling since France established its appellation system in 1935. The EU has mandated that all ingredient and nutritional information is integrated into a QR code on every bottle of wine sold in the EU, as consumers increasingly want to know more about what is in their wine, and make more educated decisions about their purchases.

Just a hint of what is to come?

Could this first label be just the first of more changes coming for the wine industry?

While EU and US ESG reporting requirements have historically concerned only large companies, the EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive will ask large businesses (retailers, distributors, integrated wine companies) to account not just for their own ESG scores, but for their suppliers too.

As greater pressure is placed upon the financial sector, banks and investors will increasingly integrate ESG scores when making investing decisions. We’ve started to see wine businesses access sustainability-linked finance, setting a precedent for what’s to come.

Wine bottle label display

How could this impact wine growers, makers and businesses?

Even smaller wine businesses will need to demonstrate their sustainability commitments to ensure that they can access funding, can continue supplying to larger wine companies, and remain in stock with retailers as each of these players begin to shift their portfolios towards more sustainable options.

Winegrowers and makers have historically demonstrated their commitments through individual certification agencies such as the Demeter International, Biodyvin or individual country or region certifications, such as Sustainable Wines of Great Britain and the Haute Valeur Environnementale from the French Ministry of Agriculture. As ESG ratings grow more standardised, even the Sustainable Wine Roundtable believes it is unlikely that these will be sufficient for retailers, partners or financiers, due to the competing and overlapping nature of these certifications.


Where to go from here?

Wine businesses need to rapidly understand what the most important sustainability issues are for their businesses and collect relevant data. This is the first step to understanding current impacts and developing strategies on how to future-proof their business models and drive positive change. These issues can vary from greenhouse gas footprints, to packaging, to human rights issues in the supply chain for larger and more complex wine businesses.

While it may seem an insurmountable challenge, providing additional information about your ingredients and sustainability commitments also presents a valuable opportunity. Offering this level of transparency gives you the chance to engage customers and partners with your brand, your ambitions, and your distinctive narrative. In turn, this helps foster consumer trust, brand loyalty and increased investor interest in your unique wine offering.


Preparing for the future of sustainable wine

At Sustainit, we’re your partners on the journey towards this future. We offer end-to-end capability across every step of this journey. We can help you:

  • Understand what the most important sustainability topics are for your business, and therefore, what information you need to collect
  • Develop strategies to collect that data
  • Select the best tools and software solutions to manage that data, according to your business needs, capability and budget
  • Interpret the information to determine your current impact and identify new pathways to improve your sustainability performance
  • Tell your story to your stakeholders in a compelling way

Change is coming in the wine industry, and we’re here to help you navigate it.  Mandatory labelling and reporting requirements brings both challenges and opportunities.  As you embrace this transformation, we can provide the ingredients and knowledge to unlock the full potential of your sustainability journey.

Vineyard wine grapes

Get in touch with our team to transform your data reporting