EU Court rules against “wholesome” wine

The EU Court of Justice has ruled that a German wine cooperative cannot describe its wines as “wholesome” on the label.

The Deutsches Weintor cooperative in Rheinland-Pfalz had employed the term “bekoemmlich” on its “Mild” range of wines, describing the wines as “wholesome” or “easily digestible”, and with “gentle acidity”.

The state authorities had blocked the company’s use of the terms, saying they breached EU rules which prohibit any claims of health benefits in alcoholic drinks.

The cooperative appealed the decision to the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg, but the court upheld the state’s view, saying it was a health claim and therefore against the EU rules – even if true.

The “Mild” range comprises a Riesling, Pinot Blanc/Pinot Gris blend, and a Dornfelder. The acidity of the wines is reduced during the vinification process.

Reacting to the decision, Jürgen Grallath of Weintor said: “We regret the decision of the European Court. In our view, the term ‘wholesome’ is not a health claim, but merely a description of well-being associated with wine enjoyment”

The final decision on this case now rests with the German Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig.

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