The UK Government has announced it will amend the legal definition of wine to reflect demand for low and no-alcohol versions of the drink.
The change is part of a post-Brexit shift away from European rules in the British wine sector.
Under the UK’s existing definitions, drinks labelled and sold as wine must be produced by the alcoholic fermentation of grapes. They must contain at least 8.5% alcohol by volume (ABV).
This means low-alcohol, or no-alcohol versions are generally marketed as a “wine-based drink” or similar.
New wine definition
From next year, the minimum ABV will lower to 0% for all types of wine produced and sold in the UK.
As a result the UK will be in line with the EU, which relaxed its own rules on the definition of wine to include low-alcohol versions in 2021.
The proposed reforms by the UK Government follow consultation with customers and industry.
It found a growing demand for rules to reflect current drinking habits, which has increasingly included low-alcohol and non-alcoholic options.
According to market research firm IWSR, no and low-alcohol volume consumption increased by 9% in the UK from 2021 to 2022. This category now makes up nearly 3% of the UK’s total alcohol beverage market.