Is the first draft of National Wine Standards too limited?

International organizations have commented on First draft of Indian wine standards and some have felt the standards to be too limited and harsh. Few are also finding IGPB's first draft of National Wine standards to be following OIV guidelines & definitions a little too straight. 

CEEV, the representative body of the EU industry and trade in wines and wine products has recommended IGPB to bring down the minimum alcoholic strength for specific wines (taking into account specificities of certain vineyards) to 4.5% vol instead of 7.0% vol.  

Liqueur wine

It has advised IGPB to drop the definitions for “Flor wine” and “Mistelles” in favor of definition for liqueur wines.

CEEV also noted that the definition of Liqueur wine actually corresponds to “Spiritous wines” (OIV 6/76) and it is advising IGPB to avoid reference to minimum of alcohol originating from the endogenous sugar fermentation as opposed to IGPB’s draft which stated a minimum 4.0% vol

OIV says that the sub definitions of “Spiritous wines” and “syrupy wines” have been withdrawn and it suggests the “Liqueur wine” definition to include all of them.

Regarding the definitions for “Wine spirits” and “Brandy/Weinbrand”, CEEV has noted that the maximum TAV (average alcoholic strength by volume) is missing and went on to provide additional definitions that needs to be included.

Carbon Dioxide levels in Sparking wines

For Sparkling wines category, the first draft stated a minimum excess pressure of carbon dioxide in bottles to be 3.5 bars at 20°C. CEEV recommend the minimum of 3.5 bar to be brought down to 3.0 bar and it also referenced that the minimum of 3.5 bar applies only to quality sparkling wine category.

For sugar content, CEEV has recommended the board to add two more categories “Brut Nature”(<3g/l) and "Extra Brut" (0 - 6 g/l).

Vinification Procedures

CEEV pointed out the biggest loophole regarding Vinifications as the first draft prevents any addition of water and sugar from external source during winemaking process and it strongly recommends enrichment processes to be allowed.

OIV also commented on the subject that the Sugar from viticultural origin that is grape must or rectified grape must be allowed for making still wines and it is technologically justified when the sugar level in grape must is not sufficient for conducting appropriate fermentation.

Volatile Acidity

CEEV also wanted the volatile acidity limit in wine to be raised to 1.2 g/l as opposed to 1g/l.  Australia too suggested a level of 1.5g/l thereby not limiting the variety of wines that are acceptable.

NZW (New Zealand Winegrowers) had an interesting take on Volatile acidity.  It argues that the OIV represents the lowest reasonable level; a more permissive approach is required given that the VA can legitimately reach higher levels for wines with elevated sugar/ alcohol levels. 

Unnecessary Limitations

NZW and US Wine Industry feels that the proposed wine standards are more stringent on certain additives and processing aids that were used internationally in winemaking and it counsels IGPB to avoid unnecessary limits.

US wine industry has also advised IGPB to avoid the establishment of limits that stimulate unnecessary and costly analyses.

NZW further added that there is no real rational to regulate/limit presence of substances, which are unlikely to be found in wine. It quoted itself as an example that the country has not specified limits for presence of arsenic, cadmium, lead or zinc and it instead encourages winemakers to follow good manufacturing practices.

Both NZW and US wine industry recommended IGPB to extend its list of additives and processing aids to reflect current accepted international wine making practices. 

NA - Not Applicable or Not Available?

All US wine industry, Australia and NZW wondered about the term “NA” and raised concerns on potential for misinterpretation.  I believe NA implies to “Not Applicable “ just as they do.

Also both Australia and USA doesn’t see the relevance in limit for sodium in excess. The proposed first draft fixed the limit as 100mg/l

OIV guidelines shouldn't be the exclusive codes

While OIV Code provides internationally recognized guidelines, NZW and US Wine Industry wanted IGPB not to construe them as exclusive code.

According to NZW, OIV has not yet considered certain practices and that does not mean that those practices are not internationally accepted. (Particularly regarding enrichment and sweetening)

In particular, US wine Industry feels that on few occasions, the proposed Indian Standard is blatantly limiting itself to permitted practices only to those contained in the OIV Code.

The Australian government Dep has also recommended India not to adopt definitions directly from OIV to avoid the risk of documents becoming quickly outdated as OIV tend to update definitions annually.

Is the code of practice applicable to Imports as well?

NZW and US wine Industry sought for clarification regarding whether the Code of Practice is applicable to Indian grape alone or for imports as well. They raised concerns that many winemaking countries will usually have their own guidelines and/or standards for the quality of grapes and wine.

US Wine Industry gave series of suggestions to IGPB to like conducting analyses of wine for compliance purposes in suitably accredited laboratories or ensuring that they are overseen by appropriately certified analysts.

Comments from Australia by Australian Government department of Agriculture, fisheries and Forestry in Conjunction with Wine Australia Corporation and Winemakers’ Federation of Australia. 

Comments from NZW by New Zealand Winegrowers, a joint venture between New Zealand Grape Growers council and Wine Institute of New Zealand.

Comments from US wine Industry (by JBC International) on behalf of the United States (U.S.) wine industry, (“U.S. industry”) comprising Wine Institute, the California Association of Wine Grape Growers (CAWG), and Wine America

Comments from CEEV by Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins / European Committee of Wine Companies - - the representative body of the EU industry and trade in wines and wine products

Comments from OIV - International Organisation of Vine and Wine

Indian Wine Industry reacts to IGPB's first Draft

Jagdish Holkar of All India Wine Producers Association emphasized on establishing national standard label as well as regional geographical identification & indication.

C.H.U. Rao of Grover Zampa shared similar opinion on including some sort of certification in the label.

Yatin Patil of Vintage wines feels that the key aspects like, grape varieties, varietal content, Alcohol % (Natural/Added), sugar addition, acidification, type of wines, etc., should have been the guiding pillars for setting standards for wine instead of residual levels in wine and parameters which cannot be deemed as standards, but merely used as safety measures. 

He adds that the recommended parameters given below cannot be the only guideline within which the framework of wine standards be drawn

Mr. Mario Sequeira of Tonia Liqour Industries is surprised with the IGPB’s proposal, which prevents addition of water or sugar to wine.

Abay Kewadkar, Winemaker of Fourseasons vineyards recommends collaboration with AWRI or with UC Davis to bring their competency and experience. He says that while developing wine standards is a good thing, implementing it with complete transparency and competency is going to be a hard deal.

Dr. Rajesh Rasal and Dr. Ajoy Shah stressed the trend of low alcohol wines and the importance of reducing the minimum levels to 5%. Abay Kewadkar too joins them to clarify for the confused CO2 content in first draft. They suggest CO2 in wine to be simply in two ranges; 0-3g/l for still and 3g – 5g/l for semi sparkling. 

To limit sodium in excess and for VA, they shared a similar vision with Australia and New Zealand. They are also concerned about harvesting based on TSS and pH as each winery will have their own procedures and systems and it would be difficult & unjustifiable to impose these kinds of standards.

David Rowe, Wine consultant from Bordeaux too felt that imposing standard on TSS and pH is not relevant.  He also questioned the usage of name “Port” which is supposed to be exclusive to Real port from Portugal.

Both Alok Chandra and David Rowe wanted IGPB to reiterate on restricting the grape varieties used for winemaking.

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