Sovio, a reduced alcohol wine at eight per cent abv, cannot be labelled as ‘wine’ due to EU regulations on wine production, according to an independent assessor.
The ruling echoes a decision by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) to ban Sovio from shop shelves last month. The brand was set to be sold via DB Wines in the UK.
Tony Cass, Sovio’s UK manager, said in a statement to Off Licence News: “We are championing the British consumers right to be able to have a wine with lower alcohol levels than conventional wine, our argument remains and we will continue to campaign for what we believe.”
Critics say the FSA has been too strict in its interpretation of the rules.
But the agency disagreed. “The consumer should not be misled into thinking that this product is a sparkling wine,” said Sarah Appleby, head of Imported Food at the FSA.
“Sovio wine uses an experimental technique for the removal of alcohol called ‘spinning cone’, which is currently not allowed to be sold in the UK, according to regulations set down by Europe.”