London Cru banned from putting vintage and variety on labels

4th August, 2014 by Lucy Shaw

London’s first urban winery, London Cru, has been banned from being able to put both the grape variety and vintage on the labels of its first wines to go on sale.

London Cru's winemaker Gavin Monery

London Cru’s winemaker Gavin Monery

As reported by db, four single varietal wines from the debut vintage made at London Cru in Earl’s Court went on sale last week via pre-order.

Made from grapes sourced from southern France and Italy, the 2013 Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbera have fallen foul of UK Food Standard Agency rules, meaning their labels cannot refer either to grape variety or vintage.

Instead, the wines will be called SW6 White Wine 1 and SW6 Red Wine 1, 2 and 3 in reference to the winery’s Earl’s Court post code. The bottles will also be labelled as “European Community Wine.”

“When we got going with London Cru we always knew that we would lose the right to any appellation status that the fruit we bought might have and we were happy to work on that basis.

“What we weren’t expecting was that we wouldn’t be able to put the vintage or the variety on the label,” a spokesperson for London Cru said.

“Even though the bodies in charge had never come across a winery like ours before, the paperwork we required from our growers is the same as we’d get in the UK for making English wine, so we hoped common sense would win out.

“Sadly, bureaucracy triumphed over common sense and the powers that be informed us that because the rules didn’t explicitly allow us to use the vintage and variety they effectively disallowed it,” they added.

The quartet of wines have gone on sale at £15 a bottle and will be delivered to customers in mid-September after they’ve had time to settle down in bottle.

13,000 bottles of wine were made at London Cru last year and the company is aiming to double production this year.

4 Responses to “London Cru banned from putting vintage and variety on labels”

  1. This doesn’t make any sense at all. There must be a reason for them not being allowed to put grape variety or vintage on the bottles. It is totally permitted to bottle wine in the UK.

  2. Failure to realize this, or not find out before going ahead, shows the amateur nature of these operators!. There is nothing new in that wine from non designated regions can’t date or use varietal descriptions as there is no means whereby ECW can prove origin, year or grape variety.

  3. glugger says:

    Doubtless Gavin has full traceability of the raw materials. It does not show the ‘amateur nature of these operators’ at all, but rather proves only one thing – that the law is an ass! I suggest that the back label should tell the full story!

  4. David bricknell says:

    Quite right too. Whatever next for wine!

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