Science News 04/10/2010

A new Charter for the European organic wines

The European producers of organic wines propose precise rules to define the wine production process from organic grapes to be applied within the year 2010

It was expected that the 2010 harvesting would be carried out by applying the new EU regulations for the production and labeling of wine and derivates. Unlucky, this was no possible because of the lack of political agreement at this regard at the European Commission the last June. Then, the proposal for a new regulation on the organic wine has been withdrawn.

Hence the official definition remains “wine produced from organic grapes” and it is still not possible to draw on the label the European Organic Logo.

To go over this paradoxical situation the Organic wine producer associations of different European countries decided to launch an European Charter of Organic wine (CEVinBio), based on (and improved in respect of) the draft of the European Commission and on the results of the international research program ORWINE.

The CEVinBio will allow the wine producers to make the best of their ethics of organic production, not only on the fields, but also in the cellar and even to the final customer. Their wine will be still labeled with the old definition of “produced from organic grapes” but they will also show some information about the virtuous processing of the grapes (e.g. the reduction of sulfites).

The associations that toke part in this initiative are organizations involved in the definition of technical standards, certification bodies, control organisms, producer associations, research institutes, stakeholders and other organizations of Italy, France and Spain.

According to Paolo Carnelomma, chairmen of the FederBio association, “Italy is the main producer and exporter of organic wine in Europe. Hence, the support of FederBio to the CEVinBio initiative is aimed at showing both in Italy and abroad the need to regulate this field and to allow our producers to make the best of all their efforts to work according to the organic farming principles (both on the field and in the cellar). We already are in a strong late in respect to extra-European producers, so we ask to the Government and to the Regions to side us in this battle”.

According to Antonio Compagnoni, Italian responsible of the IFOAM EU, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture which groups over 30 different associations (AIAB among the others), “the European Charter is a strong message from the main European associations for the organic farming, associated to the IFOAM, to the institutions, the market and the consumers. This is a concrete demonstration of complete agreement with the IFOAM principles, which include the respect to public Health, to the expectations of the organic farming consumers, in order to create a common basis of rules shared with and for the customers. I’m even more satisfied about this because of the protagonist role that the Italian members of the IFOAM had in this initiative”.

Then, the CEVinBio initiative wants to send a strong message to the consumers and to the production and market stakeholders convinced that it is necessary to go over the simple organic production of grapes and that the wine obtained by respecting the organic farming principles also in the processing phases should be clearly recognizable. The Charter is also a call to the EU politicians to restart as soon as possible with the discussion of a unique EU regulation on the organic wine production.

The CEVinBio is open to the adhesion (based on a Memorandum) to all the operators of the production chain of the organic wine that commit themselves in complying with the technical requirements. The more people will be involved in this project the more the initiative will be successful in creating and assuring the compliance with the new criteria for high-quality organic wine production and in pushing the EU politicians to restart the discussion about this topic.

di S. C.