UK pushes for lowering of wine abv

15th August, 2013 by Rupert Millar

The UK government is turning to low alcohol wines in its latest bid to battle problem drinking by lobbying the EU for a reduction in wine’s legal minimum abv.

Low-alcohol-winesRising levels of wine drinking among middle class professionals have prompted health ministers to support a Europe-wide campaign to lower the minimum strength for a product to be classed as wine from 8.5% to 4.5% abv.

Furthermore, they are also said to be pushing supermarkets to stock more low alcohol wines and beers.

The health minister, Earl Howe, told the Daily Telegraph: “The government has consistently made the case for change to the EU wine rules to permit reduced and de-alcoholised products to be called wines.”

He added that the market for low alcohol products had been rising “rapidly” in recent years and that the promotion of such products was in consumers’ “best long-term interests”.

He backed up the latter claim by referencing the growing number of patients admitted to hospital with liver disease and cancers linked to alcohol.

A recent meeting in Brussels concerning the Common Agricultural Policy failed to reach an agreement over a redefinition of what can legally be termed wine, allegedly due to protests from France, Italy and Portugal among others.

Earl Howe said that he would “work hard” to bring the topic back to the negotiating table.

Low alcohol wines have seen an increase in sales in recent years. Last year UK sales of wine lower than 8.5% abv rose to nearly seven million bottles, two million more than 2011.

On the other hand, it is also argued that non-alcoholic products or drinks with extremely low levels of alcohol are not popular with consumers and retailers are removing them from shelves.

Some producers have called on the UK government to do more to incentivise the spread of lower alcohol wines by introducing a tax break in between the current 5.5% abv and 15.5% abv duty bands.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Brand Ambassador – Santa Rita Estates

Santa Rita Estates
London or Hertfordshire but with flexibility to travel, UK

Sales Executive - Wine and Spirits Awards

The Drinks Business
Central London, UK

On-Trade Channel Manager

Delegat Europe Limited (UK)
London / Midlands, GB

Trade Marketing Analyst

Delegat Europe (UK)
London, GB

Key Account Executive

Delegat Europe Limited (UK)
London / Midlands, GB

Senior National Account Manager

Bibendum PLB
London, UK

ON-TRADE Sales Executive

Roberson Wine
London, UK

OFF-TRADE Sales Executive

Roberson Wine
London, UK

Judging Week Runners

Decanter World Wine Awards
ExCel Centre, London E16, UK

Sales Administrator

Les Caves de Pyrène
Guildford, UK

Retail Commercial Executive

Laithwaite's Wine
Theale, Berkshire

Wine Buyer

Conviviality Plc
Crewe, UK

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
Liverpool

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
M3/M4 corridor

Media Sales Manager - Hong Kong

The Drinks Business Hong Kong
Hong Kong

The Global Merlot Masters 2017

Deadline : 31st March 2017

The Prosecco Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th March 2017

db Awards 2017

Deadline : 28th April 2017

The Global Organic Masters 2017

Deadline : 3rd March 2017

Click to view more

The Global Sparkling Masters

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters

The Global Rosé Masters 2016

the drinks business is proud to announce the launch of the Global Rosé Masters 2016.

The Prosecco Masters 2016

Now in its third year, the competition will reflect the growth in popularity of this fresh and exciting sparkling wine from the picturesque regions of Veneto and Friuli.

The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2016

After the success of last year’s competition that judged over 250 wines from no less than 16 countries, the drinks business is proud to announce the third year of the Global Pinot Noir Masters

Click to view more