New Standardized Sweetness Levels on Labels Simplify Selection of Alsace Wines

COLMAR, France, Jan. 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Choosing an Alsace wine will become even easier as a standardized sweetness guide will be required on all labels of AOC Alsace beginning with wines produced from the 2021 harvest. Unlike other French regions, Alsace bottles are labeled by grape; thus, with a quick glance, it’s apparent whether the wine is a Riesling or a Gewurztraminer, for example. The labeling initiative became law in May 2021 and was originally proposed by the Association of Alsace Wine Growers with support from the CIVA (Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins d’Alsace or Alsace Wine Board) along with other wine professionals in the region. The labeling aims to make it even simpler for consumers to select wines, and this new, clear indication will also support the trade, helping them better navigate the region and offer guidance to their customers. Jenni Wagoner, Group Wine Director for Zuma and Oblix, Global, shared her perspective, “Introducing wines from Alsace to guests has always been a pleasure of mine and I know that this standardized sweetness guide will not only assist wine professionals when creating food pairings, but will give the consumer confidence as they explore the breadth of what this region has to offer.”

This innovation is further evidence of the Alsaceregion’s determination to progress and meet consumers’ expectations, while staying true to its roots, as this law does not affect production in any way. Crémant d’Alsace (the region’s traditional method sparkling wine) is not affected by the new regulations as there are already rules in place regarding a sweetness guide on these labels.

Two options for still wines are available to indicate the sweetness level (as defined by European regulations):

Option 1: label with one of the four appropriate terms:

  • Dry (sec): sugar content of the wine does not exceed 4 g/l
  • Medium-Dry (demi-sec): sugar content of the wine is between 4 g/l and 12 g/l
  • Mellow (moelleux): sugar content of the wine is between 12 g/l and 45 g/l
  • Sweet (doux): sugar content of the wine exceeds 45 g/l

Option 2: visual scale with sweetness levels and an arrow clearly pointing to one specific level. See visuals of accepted scales.

The new system will apply not only to Alsace wine labels, but also to all advertising, marketing materials, invoices, containers – a move that will greatly assist trade partners. This new regulation is a great step forward for the wine industry as it will bring even more clarity, transparency, and credibility to the purchase or recommendation of Alsace wines and aligns with the measures Alsace producers have been taking over the past few years to innovate and be closer to their audiences.

Note: Balance between residual sugar and acidity is essential in wine, especially for whites as it allows for freshness. Thus, the level of acidity in wine plays a part in its sweetness level.

According to EU regulations:
* Dry: sugar content does not exceed 4 g/l (or 9 g/l if the total acidity in grams of tartaric acid per liter is not more than 2 g/l lower than the residual sugar content).

** Medium-Dry: sugar content of the wine is above 4 g/l but does not exceed 12 g/l (or 18 g/l if the total acidity in grams of tartaric acid per liter is not more than 10 g/l lower than the residual sugar content).

For more information about Wines of Alsace: 

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