Concern about UK supermarkets selling “wine-based drinks”

Concern about UK supermarkets selling “wine-based drinks”

rsz_1wine-based_drinks_-_imageSeveral British media outlets (notably the Daily Mail and the Plymouth Herald) are reporting concerns that supermarket have been caught selling “wine based drinks” in their alcohol aisles. These drinks appear to be normal – bottled and labelled like proper wines – but small print on the back reveals they are not what they seem.

Labelling guidelines state that any drink containing less than 75 percent wine must be described as a “wine based drink”. However, there is no requirement to specify what the remaining 25 percent is, other than sulphur dioxide or any allergens. The drinks causing concern were all made by Australian Vintage Ltd and were shipped in bulk to the United Kingdom where they were bottled.

The discovery was made by experts at the website who taste and rate wines.

A spokesperson for the company said: “Recently we unearthed an interesting product which caused quite a stir within the tasting team. Some of the wines were passable just lacking genuine character and dilute, whilst others were unpleasant, not genuine, contrived and manufactured tasting. On later revealing the labels, we noticed that in small print on the back label these products were termed ‘Wine Based Drinks’. The fact that we had been misled into buying them as wine led us to do some more investigation.”

He recommended that it would be best for supermarket customers if wine-based drinks were merchandised clearly for what they are, and only sold in a dedicated section of the store.

The April edition of the New Zealand Liquor News will cover this story in greater detail, including reactions from New Zealand.

Source: Plymouth Herald –

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