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wine law

Already in the antiquity Attempts have been made to increase the quality of wine through appropriate laws and regulations and to prevent abuse. There are numerous written documents (see literature ). The oldest wine law comes from the Babylonian ruler Hammurabi (1728-1686 v. Chr.), Whose empire at that time almost the entire Mesopotamia included. Also in the right of the Roman republic the sale (especially the wholesale trade) of wine was regulated and defined in the individual laws, which quality guarantee the buyer expects and how the wine could be marketed. In the individual countries quality criteria and classes were introduced already in the early Middle Ages. Emperor Charlemagne (742-814) issued appropriate laws.

Wine Law - Justitia Libra

In the 17th century there were four stages in Burgenland (Austria): Vinum Nobile (fine wine, dry berry from Trockenbeeren), Vinum Bonum (quality wine from Furmint, Augster and Muskateller), Vinum Mediocre (medium quality wine) and Vinum Cibale (Food or table wine). in the Wien of the 18th century, there were the quality levels Herrschaftswein (only for Hoftafel), officer wine and soldier's wine. At that time, starting in Spain ( Rioja ), Portugal ( port wine ) and Italy ( Chianti ) started distinguishing wines into two quality classes, namely qualitatively better with and qualitatively less without naming the geographically clearly defined ancestry, This resulted in the consequence of the concept of Roman wine law,

Wine laws in Europe

From the end of the 19th century are then in all wine-producing countries Strict laws have been created to safeguard and improve the quality and against wine adulteration to protect. At that time there were still big differences. Finally, as a complement to it, established in the 1930s in France appellation system as a model for most European countries. Based on these provisions, within the European Union created an extensive legal and regulatory framework. This is based on the legislation of the member states, with country-specific deviations in detail.

The standard work in Germany is the "Weinrecht" (Walhalla publishing house, Wilhelm Schevardo and Josef Koy), which in the edition published in June 2012 comprises 4.068 pages in four folders plus CD-ROM. It offers the wine law of the EU, the Federal Republic of Germany and the federal states. Another work is the "Weinrecht commentary" by Prof. dr. Hans-Jörg cook, The standard work in Austria is the "wine law" (Manz publishing house, Hannes Mraz and Hans Valentin), which in the 2012 published 5th edition comprises 818 pages. It provides a comprehensive account of the wine law including all regulations and EU regulations. Furthermore, there is also the electronic database RIS (legal information system), where, among other things, wine-related matters are included.

Depending on the climatic conditions, Europe is divided into the three main zones A, B and (with subzones) C. For certain winemaking procedures, there are different requirements or exemptions ever growing zone, Certain oenological procedures or treatments may be authorized by any EU Member State for experimental purposes. A limitation of such wines is that the entire "trial" within a Member State may not extend for more than three years (a one-off extension to another three years is allowed). However, the wine so treated must not be sold to other EU Member States.

In addition to the EU requirements, there are also country-specific provisions which are often stricter or even more stringent in the individual countries, and which are usually also different by region, growing area down to individual locations or even specific wines. In addition to the above, these rules also regulate items such as certain education forms, Regulations regarding the winemaking, specific Bottle shapes (such as the bocksbeutel ), Minimum expansion times of wines (barrel and / or bottle), wine names and earliest time of marketing. The review of these rules by official bodies is also defined. The exact rules are listed below each country.

Wine Laws in the New World

In the New world on the other hand, the provisions on wine are usually much less strictly regulated. In most countries the normative force of fact applies. One orients itself very strongly on the consumer's desires, which also leads to a certain uniformity of the wine styles. In this context is specifically in the United States the term Coca-Cola wines emerged. In most cases, there is only the distinction between Wine. Dessert wine and sparkling wine with minimum alcohol limits. Rather not common Income restrictions and grape varieties. The enrich with sugar is often forbidden, for example in Australia. Chile and South Africa, one leavening is obligatory due to climatic conditions especially in many southern countries.

The wine trade agreement concluded between the EU and the US in 2005 and the EU Wine Market Regulation adopted in 2006 brought about major changes.

Wine trade agreement EU and US

In December 2005, the EU Agriculture Ministers made a momentous decision that led to violent reactions and questions in the wine scene. They signed an already discussed since 1983 Wine Trade Agreement with the USA. It became effective at the beginning of 2006 and regulates the mutual recognition of manufacturing standards in the winemaking, Now all procedures are allowed, which were approved on or before 14.9.2005 in the USA or in the EU. This only applies to the placing on the market of products in the other area; what is allowed in the US can well be banned in the EU. This ended a long-standing dispute between American and European winemakers.

The US is now allowed to import wines to the EU that have been processed with certain "modern technologies". Critics say that so that the market is called Coca-Cola wines will be flooded. In return, the US recognizes protected European desig nation designations. The previously misused terms such as Bordeaux. Champagne. Chianti or Tokaj are no longer used on the labels. For the assessment of the immediately controversial and criticized agreement after the signing, it should be noted that the USA is the largest export market for European wine. EU wine exports to the United States amount to about five times the volume of US wine exports to EU countries. If there had been no agreement, this would probably have led to severe losses of the EU due to US restraint measures wine trade guided.

For a long time, the new methods have been used extensively in the USA in particular, but partly also cellar techniques already in use in Europe. These are, for example, devices that extract water from the wine by means of filtration, freezing or steaming processes and thereby produce a concentration cause the ingredients. A well-used in the petroleum industry, but new in winemaking process is Spinning Cone Column (SCC). This simply means that the wine is broken down into certain components and then reassembled so that there is a different flavor alcohol content and flavorings results.

A second particularly criticized application is the addition of water to dilute a must grown under hot sun and too concentrated. The third group concerns the addition of tannin and wood flavors in different forms. This is not the world used Barrique meant, but less expensive and cheaper methods such as use of Wood chips (Oak pieces) or the addition of aromatic Oak extracts, Wood chips are now allowed by EU regulation since the beginning of 2007. Likewise in the EU are partly allowed oenological tannins and oenological enzymes, Under the keyword Means in winemaking all relevant substances are listed.

The main criticism within the EU (especially Austria) is that the agreement does not require labeling of the manufacturing process. So the consumer does not know how the wine was produced. There is a fear of flooding the EU markets with cheaply produced ones Art wines from the USA. Not a few will consider some of these techniques as wine adulteration (Pantschen). Among other things, "purity bids" are required. This is probably unrealistic. A control would probably be bureaucratic so complex that the success seems very doubtful.

In Europe too, some controversial techniques have been common for some time and are allowed by the EU at least for experimental purposes. These include especially in the fermentation used means like special yeasts. enzymes and nutrients, as well as procedures like osmosis (Reverse osmosis), as well as use of RTK (rectified concentrated grape must) and concentrated grape must, One solution could be that winegrowers come together to form quality associations that agree on certain procedures and strictly control their use so that the consumer can rely on them.

At the end of 2008, Australia also agreed to renounce abusive European terms of origin such as Burgundy, Champagne, Port, Sherry or Sauternes. In an agreement between the EU and Australia, use is being redefined. Australia agreed to waive these terms after a one-year transition period from early 2010. In return, however, the right is granted to export Australian wines with reduced alcohol to the EU, which was previously prohibited. These are products in which a part of the alcohol, for example by means of osmosis (Reverse osmosis) was withdrawn.

Common market organization for wine

In June 2006, the EU published a policy paper on a reform of the Common Market Organization for wine. The aim was to counteract the declining trend in consumption (minus 750,000 hl annually) and the strong increase in imports of wine from third countries. An EU-wide overproduction of 27 million hectoliters of wine was forecasted for 2010, which would have accounted for almost 15% of total production. Through this Excess production At that time, the members of the winegrowing industry had threatened drastic income losses.

Following consultation in the EU committees involving all EU wine-growing countries, the new CMO wine (Common Market Organization for Wine) came into force in August 2009. Transitional periods are envisaged for the implementation of the various measures. This affects above all that Wine labeling regulations, various oenological practices, and a clearing action. The most serious change is probably the introduction of the internationally established origin principle with thereby new wine quality levels. This is in detail under the keyword quality system described in detail.

In the context of the decided clearing action By 2011, around 160,000 hectares of vineyards had been eliminated. The also decided release of the vine planting from 2018 was taken back in 2013 and the planting rights newly regulated. There are changes in oenological practices enrich (Increase alcohol content), sulphurous acid (Limits) sweetening (Increase residual sugar) and Wood chips (Oak chips). As a further change can now also quality wine within the EU, not exclusively in bottles, but also containers like Bag-in-Box. Pet bottle and Tetra pack be bottled.

Vitop® Tap / Bag-in-Box

Wine relevant keywords

In the following, the most important wine-law relevant terms are mentioned. Basis for the legal regulations are EU regulations, Of course, there are always changes or amendments. In detail, the rules are often different each growing zone and / or wine quality level. In addition, countries often have the option of obtaining mostly climatically or traditionally conditioned exemptions or a certain latitude:

further information

For the individual keywords all important wine law matters are listed in detail. All aids, works and measures in the vineyard during the growth cycle one finds below Weingarten Care, Complete listings of the numerous cellar techniques, as well as a list of the wine-regulated wine, sparkling wine and distillate types are under the keyword winemaking contain.

World's largest wine knowledge database, made with by our author Norbert Tischelmayer.

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