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Summer Updates in the Wine Law Field

As summer passes by, there are several noteworthy updates with respect to wine law. These updates cover upcoming and prior events, relating mostly to the academic side of wine and its intersection with the law. It is wonderful to see the variety of events and the opportunities to learn and interact with others interested in wine and law. If there are any events, past or present, that I missed, please contact me.

The third annual Wine and Law Program at the Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne met early in July with its third class of students from around the world. This year’s lecturers were Tracy Genesen of Kirkland Ellis, Steve Charters of the Reims Management School, Barton Seldon of Gartenberg, Gelfand, Hayton, & Seldon LLP, and Director Theodore Georgopoulos. Trips included visits to the caves at Moët & Chandon and Veuve Cliquot-Ponsardin, the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (“CIVC”), and a cooperative in the Cote de Blanc town Vertus. You can read more about this year’s program at the blog Wine with Kat & Friends, featuring a recollection of her experience at the Wine and Law Program week one and week two. Reading her entries reminds me of my own experience at the Wine and Law Program last summer, and I very much hope to return to Reims one day in the future.

This next update is one I received many inquiries about in the past, and it is a pleasure to present additional information on a conference dedicated exclusively to the wine, beer, and spirits industries. The Seventeenth Annual Wine, Beer & Spirits Law Conference will take place this fall at the Hyatt Regency in Austin, Texas. The conference, which will be held September 20-21, 2012, includes discussions on alcohol beverage regulations and transactional details. This year’s conference features speakers from many backgrounds, including the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (“TTB”), the Wine Institute, and many law firms throughout the states. For more information or to register, visit Seventeenth Annual Wine, Beer & Spirits Law Conference

Finally, the Reims Wine and Law Program recently started collecting papers for its new international seminar called Wine Law in Context. The objective is to bring together scholars in the wine and spirits law field, as well as wine economics, sociology, ethnology, or political science. While the date for submitting a CV and paper description passed, the Wine and Law Program has many strong ideas for bringing together scholars in the wind and law field on an international level. It will be exciting to see the measures the Program takes in the future.

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The Wine Law Pathway Post-Law School Graduation

I so rarely write personal updates for On Reserve, but in light of recent developments, I am eager to share my current accomplishments and future pathway with all of you.

I often receive e-mails from other students asking me for advice with respect to following a career in wine and law. As recurrent as these e-mails are, I find myself puzzled in response, as I never feel I have an appropriate answer. (I was, after all, a student myself up until last Friday.) I stumbled upon this pathway by mere chance—and by virtue of a lot of fate. Whereas I may not be in the position to disseminate advice, I can say one thing about my personal experience with wine and the law: for me, the wine law path is recurring.

The true beginning for me occurred unexpectedly, in a restaurant management class instructed by Professor Alex Susskind, during my very last semester at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. The discovery was as much unanticipated as it was appreciated and propitious. Professor Susskind assigned an article for class one day, ‘Bolt From the Blue’ on a Tuscan Red, about the alleged production of Brunello di Montalcino with foreign, unapproved varietals by various Brunello producers in Italy, which violated the DOCG regulations that mandate Brunello to be produced from only Sangiovese grapes. The article significantly captured my interest immediately. I knew I was attending law school the following fall and, while I contemplated pursuing a legal career favorable to the hospitality industry, the idea of wine intersecting with the law fascinated me. At that point in time, however, I was not certain how I could incorporate this immediate interest into my law school pathway.

A few months later, I found myself directly across the table at dinner with someone who remains my biggest inspiration—and my strongest advocate. He casually mentioned (without knowing my interest) he was editing an article for his own law journal that mused about an intellectual property issue in the context of wine. This was, unquestionably, another serendipitous token for me. After he sent me a copy of the article—and after I scrutinized every footnote for supplemental reading on wine law—I began to discern that wine law could be my intended pathway, and not simply a fleeting topic of interest featured in The New York Times. But, since I was only at the beginning of my first year of law school, there was very little I could do outside outlining and briefing cases.

I started On Reserve almost two years ago, during the summer after I finished my 1L year of law school. On the brink of writing a Note for my journal—and incredibly interested in the topic of wine law—I thought there to be no better way to showcase and organize my research than with a blog. At the time, an online forum for individuals with a professional or academic interest in wine and law did not exist, but I never anticipated the continued readership and interaction I have thanks to On Reserve. I thought I was one of few interested in wine and the law, but I (gratefully) turned out to be misguided. In fact, it seemed a venue  incorporating wine and the law was long overdue in the wine community. (The Note won the 2010-2011 Trandafir International Business Law Competition and is scheduled to be published this summer.)

Over the course of the last two years, I’ve had the pleasure of expanding not only my knowledge in the area of wine and law, but also my contacts. I traveled through various wine regions—including Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Champagne, and the Douro Valley—to expand my wine vocabulary and learn about the various legislative measures pursued by each region. I spent a good portion of last summer in the Champagne region of France at the Wine & Law Program of the Unversité de Reims Champagne-Ardenne, studying under some of the most respected scholars in the area of wine law, where I received a university diploma in transnational wine trade law. Upon my return, I worked with Lot18 on some legal and regulatory compliance matters in the context of direct shipment in the States. Center for Wine Origins invited me on a trip to Portugal last fall, where I learned more about the legal measures of the Douro wine region implemented to protect the region’s wine products in an international market.

Much, if not all, of these opportunities spawned from the creation and continual dedication to On Reserve. With complete probity, I never imagined, when I started this blog, that I would one day proclaim wine law to be the actual direction of my career. In fact, during some points in time, following this rather unique interest seemed implausible if not impossible. Fortunately, the rather ambitious decision to pursue a niche area of law came to fruition this last year. I am honored to say that I will begin my career as an associate attorney at an alcohol beverage law firm in the Washington, D.C. area this August.

As for what is to come, I once again find myself dumbfounded in response. I think the appropriate answer amounts to this: a lot is in store. Upon many years of practice, I hope to teach a course in wine and the law one day, and I certainly hope to publish more. However fortuitous the idea of wine and law may have been for me years ago, it is indeed my conscious pathway today.


Indian Wine and Wine Legislation: A Future Development?

A few months ago, I came across an article posted by the Indian Wine Academy that I thought to be particularly interesting. The article, The Growing Need for Wine Laws in India, attracted me because I so rarely come across research on India and wine law. In fact, I can say quite candidly that I’ve never even tasted Indian wine before. Setting aside any cultural orders or norms that may restrict or downright prohibit consumption of wine within India, I am still unfamiliar with any wine products exported from the country. (I am an advocate of trying different wines when I am out to eat or when I peruse the aisle of my local wine store. While I’ve had the pleasure of tasting some unique wines in the last few years, including a Tunisian bottle that just made my list of favorites and an Ethiopian bouquet of honey wine, I do not believe I am yet to taste wine from India.) While the article reposted by the Indian Wine Academy discusses the relative definition of wine laws and the functions of said laws from both a domestic and international perspective, the article itself does not actually advocate why India needs wine laws. Although the author suggests a list of considerations Indian legislators should be mindful of when implementing wine regulations, the article itself does not directly detail the caveats of the current lack of Indian legislation for wine. At the time of my reading the article, I could only surmise that the connection between espousing wine regulation in India and the international market was to promote the growth of Indian wines through transnational wine trade.

Since my initial reading of the above article, much developed with respect to the global trade of Indian wines. For example, an article titled India Struggles to Develop Taste for Wine details the limited interest in wine that seems to be prevalent throughout the country. Just recently, The Times of India announced that the Indian Grape Processing Board (“IGPB”) plans to implement legislation to regulate winemaking and, in turn, the internal standards of the Indian wine industry. (See Legislation Planned to Make Indian Wine World-Class.) The Times of India reports that, “[t]here will be laws regarding the manufacture of wine, quality, brand and marketing. All wine-related practices-manufacturing, agricultural, critical point analysis, food safety norms-will come under the legislation.” (Id.) Representatives from the IGPB indicate that these regulations will, in time, allow the international market to recognize Indian wines, as well as improve the quality of Indian wine products. (See id.) Currently, in India, “any name can be given to wine made from table grapes or wine variety grapes.” (Id.) After new legislation is implemented, the IGPB reports that a grapegrower in one region will not be allowed to label his wine as that from a different region that is geographically recognized under the legislation. To some extent, early talks seem to indicate that India will create a system that is similar to the appellation of origin system widely discussed and used as a model by many global wine producers.

While India can be expected to develop legislation with respect to its wine production and grape growing over the next few years, critics seem hopeful that there is room for India to capture a respectable slice in the international wine trade market, in addition to a development of an internal wine cultural. See Wine and the India EU Free Trade Agreement and Revisiting the Indian Wine Market. The course of the development of wine laws and regulations in India will be a topic for future consideration on this blog.


What is the proposal for establishing the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley AVA?

On May 8, 2012, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (“TTB”) announced a proposal for establishing an American Viticultural Area (“AVA”) for the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley in Douglas, Grant, and Kittitas Counties in central Washington. The notice states that TTB:

proposes to establish the 162,762-acre “Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley” viticultural area in Douglas, Grant, and Kittitas Counties in central Washington. The proposed viticultural area lies within the larger Columbia Valley viticultural area [27 CFR 9.74]. TTB designates viticultural areas to allow vintners to better describe the origin of their wines and to allow consumers to better identify wines they may purchase. (27 CFR Part 9 Notice No. 128 Proposed Establishment of the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley Viticultural Area.)

The proposal indicates that the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley is distinguishable from the Columbia Valley AVA because of the topography, soils, climate, and geography of the propose viticultural area. (See TTB Newsletter for May 11, 2012.) Accordingly, the proposed AVA is located within a “distinctive landform” that is known locally as the Quincy Basin, which has “elevations lower than the surrounding area and slopes gently to the east.” (Federal Registrer: Proposed Establishment of the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley Viticultural Area.) It is noted that the floor of the basin is flatter than the surrounding region. (See id.) Additionally, according to the United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service, the proposed AVA has 65 soil types and the petition itself compares the soil of the proposed AVA with the soil of the current Columbia Valley AVA. (See id.) “The tables show significant contrasts in soils within and outside of the proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area.” (Id.)

According to the Federal Register,  Joan R. Davenport, a professor of soil sciences at Washington State University, and Cameron Fries of White Heron Cellars, sent TTB a petition on behalf of vintners and grape growers in the Ancient Lakes region of central Washington promoting the establishment the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area. (See Federal Registrer: Proposed Establishment of the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley Viticultural Area.) In addition,

[t]he proposed viticultural area contains 162,762 acres, 1,399 acres of which are dedicated to commercially-producing vineyards. The petition states that there are six wineries and six commercially-producing vineyards located within the proposed viticultural area. The petition also includes a map showing that the vineyards and wineries are dispersed throughout the proposed viticultural area. According to the petition, the distinguishing features of the proposed viticultural area include its topography, soils, climate, and geology. Unless otherwise noted, all information and data contained in the below sections concerning the name, boundary, and distinguishing features of the proposed viticultural area are from the petition for the proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area and its supporting exhibits. (Id.)

What are the main differences between the Columbia Valley AVA and the proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley AVA?

The Federal Register notes that petition’s information indicates that the proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area “generally has a climate that fits within the climate range of the larger Columbia Valley viticultural area as described in T.D. ATF-190, with low annual precipitation, a growing season of 180 days, and 2,570 GDD units.” (Id.) The TTB, however, highlights that while similarities do exist between Columbia Valley and the Ancient Lakes area, such similarities juxtapose with the more disparate topography, soils, and climate of what is currently an expansive area. (Id.) While the Columbia Valley viticultural area and the proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area are both basins, it is notable that Columbia Valley is “is marked by three major rivers, whereas the water features of the proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area include many small lakes and two manmade irrigation canals” and the only major river in the proposed Ancient Lakes area is the Columbia River. (Id.) Additionally, it is considerable the petition indicates that, while certain soil contents are found within the proposed viticultural area, such soils are not found in the same frequency as those in the current, established viticultural area. (Id.)

What is the notice and comment process for this proposal?

The TTB welcomes comments on this proposal until July 9, 2012. For more information about how to submit a comment, see 27 CFR Part 9 Notice No. 128 Proposed Establishment of the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley Viticultural Area and to view comments associated with this rulemaking, see Docket Folder Summary: Proposed Establishment of the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley Viticultural Area. As of this writing, there is currently one comment with respect to this proposal.

What is an American Viticultural Area (“AVA”)?

Section 4.25(e)(1)(i) of the Code of Federal Regulations (27 CFR 4.25(e)(1)(i)) defines a viticultural area for American wine as “[a] delimited grape-growing region having distinguishing features as described in part 9 of this chapter and a name and a delineated boundary as established in part 9 of this chapter.” These classifications permit vintners and consumers to “attribute a given quality, reputation, or other characteristic of a wine made from grapes grown in an area to its geographic origin.” (Federal Registrer: Proposed Establishment of the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley Viticultural Area.) Structuring, classifying, and establishing viticultural areas within the United States allows winegrowers to more accurately describe the origin of their wine products and to additionally aid consumers in the identification of wines. It is widely believed, and argued by many, that the area in which wine grapes are grown can greatly characterize the wine in terms of style, taste, and overall product reputation.

Photographs are property of Lindsey A. Zahn.

For more information on wine or alcohol law, TTB, AVAs, or federal law, please contact Lindsey Zahn.

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is for general information purposes only, is not intended to constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship results. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice.


Quinta Nova, Ferrão. — in Oporto, Porto, Portugal.

TTB recently announced, in final rule T.D. TTB-103, it is amending labeling regulations to require the listing of cochineal extract and carmine on the label of any alcohol beverage that contains one or both of the color additives. According to the final rule, “[t]his rule responds to a final rule issued by the Food and Drug Administration. Consumers who are allergic to cochineal extract or carmine will now be able to identify and thus avoid alcohol beverage products that contain these color additives.” (See T.D. TTB-103.) TTB indicates this requirement will apply to “products that are removed from domestic bonded premises or from customs custody on or after April 16, 2013; however, voluntary compliance with this final rule, including making any required labeling changes, may begin immediately.” For information on the effective date and the history of this change, see id. For more information on the final rule issued by the FDA, from which this change stems, refer to Listing of Color Additives Exempt From Certification: Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Labeling: Cochineal Extract and Carmine Declaration.


Continuing Legal Education (“CLE”) International is hosting two upcoming conferences on alcohol beverage law. The first, which is the Alcohol Beverage Law & Technology Conference, will be held in San Francisco, CA on May 11, 2012 and is co-chaired by James M. Seff, Esq. of Pillsbury Law and Marc E. Sorini, Esq. of McDermott Will & Emery LLP. It is a one-day national conference held at Hotel Nikko. The conference entails “[e]xperts from around the country [that] will bring you up-to-speed on the latest public policy debates and developments in intellectual property, electronic and digital media, data security and privacy, electronic discovery, and more.” (See Alcohol Beverage Law & Technology.) At the Alcohol Beverage Law & Technology conference, up to seven hours of MCLE credit, including one hour of ethics credit, can be earned. For more information on the schedule, topics, faculty, and how to register, see the brochure or the website for the Alcohol Beverage Law & Technology CLE Conference.

The second conference, which is CLE’s 17th Annual Wine, Beer & Spirits Law Conference, will be held in Austin, TX on September 20, 2012 through September 21, 2012. The promotional materials are not currently available for this conference, so please check the CLE website in the future for more information regarding this upcoming event.

The following is provided from Kerry Mason, the Program Attorney for CLE International:

New One-Day National Conference!


May 11, 2012—Hotel Nikko—San Francisco

Technology is advancing every day—are you ready?  CLE International brings you this exciting new Conference, specifically designed for those involved in wine, beer and spirits law.  Don’t miss out! Register now at www.cle.com/alcohol or (800) 873-7130.

Alcohol Beverage Law & Technology CLE International Conference

Brochure property of CLE International. All remaining photographs are property of Lindsey A. Zahn, unless otherwise noted.


Several updates from the TTB recently developed with respect to the alcohol beverage industry. These updates are noted below.

New Certificate of Origin Requirement for Exporting U.S. Alcohol Beverage Products to Korea: The recent trade agreement between the United States and Korea, along with its provisions, are particularly relevant for wine and alcohol beverage producers exporting products to Korea. The Agreement went into effect on March 15, 2012. (Read more about the trade agreement at U.S.–Korea Trade AgreementNew Opportunity for U.S. Exporters Under the U.S.–Korea Trade Agreement.) The Agreement is important to the alcohol beverage industry in the United States because it proposes to reduce and eventually eliminate tariffs on the exportation of alcohol beverages. The TTB, however, notes that a specific new addition is included in the Agreement: a certificate of origin for all U.S. alcohol beverages exported to Korea. For more information, see the TTB’s copy of the Korean–U.S. FTA Certificate of Origin necessary to claim a reduced tariff  and the Import/Export Requirements for Korea.

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau Announces Revisions to Certificate of Label Approval (“COLA”) Form: On March 30, 2012 the Department of Treasury published a notice in the Federal Registry for TTB Form 5100.31, Application for the COLA. This notice is succeeds a prior notice, 76 FR 81016, published by the TTB on December 27, 2011. The December notice sought comments from the public on changes the TTB advanced  with respect to the form, such as adding new types of changes that can be made to alcohol beverage labels without acquiring a new COLA for that beverage. “This [second] notice announces that the  Department of the Treasury has submitted the form to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and solicits comments on the form.” Comments for this Federal Register notice can be submitted to the TTB until April 30, 2012. To learn more about submitting a comment with respect to the March notice, see Revisions to TTB Label Approval Form

For more information on wine or alcohol law, TTB, labeling or COLAs, or advertising, please contact Lindsey Zahn.

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is for general information purposes only, is not intended to constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship results. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice.


Additional Transnational Wine Trade Agreements

Montalcino, Italy.

Montalcino, Italy.

In the past, with respect to transnational wine trade agreements, many of On Reserve’s entries discuss the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (“TRIPS”), the Agreement Between the European Community and the United States of American on Trade in Wine, and the Agreement Between the European Community and Australia on Trade in Wine. It is noteworthy, however, to recognize that many other nations throughout the world have trade agreements with the European Union. Additional wine trade agreements with the European Union, or agreements encompassing wine trade, are summarized as follows:

  • Canada—Canada presently maintains a wine trade agreement with the European Union that is the product of three years of negotiations between the two powers. The Agreement, The Agreement Between the European Community and Canada on Trade in Wines and Spirit Drinks, contains provisions related to trademarks and geographical indications, production and quality standards for wines and spirits, and the role of independent audits and provincial authorities in Canada to ensure regulations are enforced properly. One of the major contentions in forming the updated trade agreement between Canada and the EU entailed recognizing certain wines and spirits as non-generic. Similar to the United States, Canada recognized many European wine and spirits as generic—such as Champagne, Port/Porto, Sherry,  Chablis, Burgundy, Sauterne, Grappa, Marc, and Ouzo—that the EU acknowledged as warranting heightened protection. The EU’s aim in this agreement was to induce heightened protection for some of the wines and spirits names that Canada categorized as generic and classify these names as geographical indications. The EU-Canada Agreement recognized three “phase out” stages for a number of wines and spirits Canada previously recognized as generic, including (but not limited to) Chablis, Champagne, Port/Porto, Sherry, Burgundy, Rhin/Rhine, Grappa, Ouzo, and Pacharan. In exchange for Canada’s recognition of European wines and spirits names, the EU agreed to protect Canadian Rye Whisky as a distinctive product from Canada.
  • Chile—In November 2002, Chile and the European Union entered an agreement titled the Agreement on Establishing Association Between the European Community and its Member States, Of the One Part, and the Republic of Chile, Of the Other Part. Section 6 of the Agreement, titled “Wines and Spirits,” refers to Annexes V and VI of the Agreement, which are formally known as the Agreement on Trade in Wine and the Agreement on Trade in Spirit Drinks and Aromatised Drinks. The entire EU-Chile Agreement contains provisions relating to geographical indications, but Annexes V and VI specifically regulate wine trade between the two parties. Annexes V and VI function “on the basis of non-discrimination and reciprocity, to facilitate and promote trade in wine produced in Chile and in the Community . . . .” (Agreement on Establishing Association Between the European Community and its Member States, Of the One Part, and the Republic of Chile, Of the Other Part, Annex 5.) The core of the EU-Chile Wine Trade Agreement defines geographical indications and traditional expressions and the terms and conditions for registering and using a trademark.
  • Mexico—In 1997, Mexico and the EU signed an Agreement titled the Agreement Between the European Community and the United Mexican States on the Mutual Recognition and Protection of Designations for Spirit Drinks. Under the EU-Mexico Agreement, both parties agreed to protect the denominations of origin of certain spirits products, such as Tequila, Mezcal, Whisky, Grappa, and Cognac. Article 4 of the Agreement reserved use of these geographical indications exclusively by their places of origin indicated by the designations. Article 4 extends to phrases that imply a product is similar to the original geographical indication, including “type,” “style,” “kind,” and “method,” but not produced in the area reserved to the designation of origin. Like many of its predecessors, the EU-Mexico Agreement contains provisions governing homonymous names, administrative measures and legal proceedings, and two annexes listing the protected geographical indications for wines and spirits in the EU and the appellations of origins for spirits in Mexico.
  • South Africa—In 2002, South African signed an agreement with the EU that warrants heightened protection for many geographical indications originating in the EU. The agreement, Agreement Between the European Community and the Republic of South Africa on Trade in Wine, is the product of many negotiations and struggles between the two wine powers; the EU, in its traditional fashion, sought heightened protection for a list of its wine names, including Port and Sherry. As is a continual pattern in many of the negotiations between the EU and other wine powers, obtaining this protection was a struggle with South Africa, whose global influence as a wine producer continually expands. However, the final EU-South Africa Agreement grants stronger protection to geographical indications and appellations of origins than regulations outlined in the TRIPS Agreement, as South African agreed to phase out the use of Port and Sherry on its wine products. Additional provisions under the EU-South Africa Agreement include recognizing oenological processes (including accepting future practices developed by either party). The two powers also signed an agreement regulating spirits in 2002, Agreement Between the European Community and the Republic of South Africa on Trade in Spirits, which requires increased protection for a list of geographical indications for spirits, including Grappa, Ouzo, and Pacharan, after a transitional period.
There are additional agreements between the EU and other bodies, including Switzerland and Croatia, which are available for review at European Commission: Bilateral Agreements.
Quinta Nova, Ferrão; Oporto, Porto, Portugal.

Quinta Nova, Ferrão; Oporto, Porto, Portugal.


For more information on wine or alcohol law, international trade, or distribution, please contact Lindsey Zahn.

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is for general information purposes only, is not intended to constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship results. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice.

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Quinta da Gaivosa (Domingos Alves de Sousa), Cumieira, Santa Marta de Penaguião

The 19th annual Vineyard Data Quantification Society Conference will take place from May 30, 2012 to June 2, 2012, in Coimbra and Viseu, Portugal. This meeting is organized by the Vineyard Data Quantification Society (“VDQS”). This year, we are pleased to host a special session with a special topic on Wine & Laws or Regulation, chaired by Dr. Théodore Georgopoulos, of the Université de Reims ChampagneArdenne. 


  1. Impacts of laws and rules (tax, customs, environment, etc.) on localization and the value of the vineyards, business characteristics (and transmission), production, wine marketing, advertising, consumption of wines and their consequences.
  2. Evolution of judicial practices in the wine sector
  3. Harmonization of legislation (European and world level) 
  4. Other topics include wine sustainability and sustainable development, marketing and management, evolution and institutions, and gastronomic studies. Research topics also include traditional topics, such as economics, marketing and management, wine industries in economics, quality & gastronomy, wine development, and wine and society.

More information is available at Vineyard Data Qualification Society and Le Temps Jusqu’au 13 Fevrier Pour Presenter Des Travaux Participants L’« ŒNOMETRIE » XIX.

Photograph property of Lindsey A. Zahn.


New EU Regulation for Organic Wine

The Standing Committee on Organic Farming (“SCOF”) agreed yesterday, February 8, 2012 to new EU rules governing the production of organic wines for the 2012 harvest season. (See New EU Regulation Agreed for 2012 Harvest of Organic Wine.) These rules will be published in the Official Journal in the upcoming weeks. This is the first time EU wine producers can use the term “organic wine” on wine labels, as the EU rules previously regulated “wine made from organic grapes,” but did not cover the entire production of organic wine due to alleged disagreements on the standard for producing organic wines. (See EU Agrees Organic Wine Standard.)

The new regulation will apply to the 2012 harvest of EU wines. The laws require labels to “show  the EU-organic-logo and the code number of their certifier, and must respect other wine labelling rules.” (See New EU Regulation Agreed for 2012 Harvest of Organic Wines.) The rules establish a subcategory of oenological practices and substances for organic wines as defined in the Wine Common Market Organisation (“CMO”) Regulation 606/2009. (Id.) Specifically, “[t]he new guidelines now specify certain production methods and auxiliary substances. Wine producers wishing to use the EU organic seal will, for instance, have to forego using sorbic acid completely, and will be able to use sulfites for preservation purposes only in smaller amounts than is the case for conventionally produced wine; the difference amounts to a minimum of 30 to 50 milligrammes, depending on the residual sugar content of the wine.” (See EU Commission Passes Organic Wine Guidelines.) In addition to these practices, organic wine must be produced from organic grapes as defined under Regulation 834/2007. (See New EU Regulation Agreed for 2012 Harvest of Organic Wines.)

It is believed that the introduction of the new EU regulations for organic wines will greatly improve the international market for organic wines from the EU. This is especially beneficial considering the significant amounts of organic wines from other countries (e.g., the United States, Australia, South Africa, and Chile) that are available in the international market. These countries already established benchmarks for the production of organic wines. From an internal level, these regulations mark the “completion” of EU organic farming, as all agricultural products are now covered under organic standards. (Id.) Finally, many believe the internal market of the EU will be strengthened through these regulations by increasing customer awareness and product transparency. 

For more information, see the official European Commission press release at New EU Rules for ‘Organic’ Wine Agreed.

Photographs are property of Lindsey A. Zahn.