Non-Alcoholic Wine: On Hold

Veronika Crecelius talks to Elisabetta Romeo-Vareille from the Unione Italiana Vini (UIV) about the state of dealcoholisation in Italy.

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Elisabetta Romeo-Vareille
Elisabetta Romeo-Vareille

What are the standards that allow Italian producers to dealcoholise or partially dealcoholise wines?

First of all, the production of dealcoholised wine has been permitted in Europe since 2021, including in Italy. However, we still have certain additional regulations here. Italy is therefore currently behind schedule, but this will quickly be made up for because some wine companies are very interested in the segment.

What is the reason for this delay?

The law hinders the production of dealcoholised wine in Italy in some respects. For example, the storage of certain substances, including alcohol, in wine production facilities is prohibited and should be regulated in specific cases. Temporary storage of the alcohol obtained during dealcoholisation before it is denatured and of the water obtained during this process should in any case be permitted.

What does the Ministry of Agriculture (MASAF) say?

The MASAF has sent us a draft that was drawn up after discussions with the customs authority and the ICQRF (Central Inspectorate for Quality Protection and Fraud Prevention in the Food Sector). It sets out the following three points:

Firstly, the endogenous water produced during dealcoholisation by distillation or partial evaporation can be recovered, provided that the reuse takes place within the process, which operates continuously and automatically in a closed circuit.

Secondly, dealcoholisation may only be carried out in establishments that have a licence to produce alcohol with a tax deposit.

Thirdly, pending the introduction of specific telematics functionality, the individual operations must be notified in advance by the PEC to the territorial offices of the ICQRF and the ADM (the Italian Excise, State Monopoly and Customs Administration Authority), depending on jurisdiction, no later than the fifth day before they are carried out.

That sounds quite encouraging. So what do Italian winemakers do if they want to launch dealcoholised wine but don’t want to wait?

They can have the process carried out by their neighbours in Germany, France or Spain, as there are already several examples of this.

Italy still lacks the critical mass for dealcoholisation centres like those in France.

They may be conceivable in the future. But we will find a solution that can be integrated into the existing laws and hope that a license for the temporary storage of alcohol will be possible under certain circumstances and under the supervision of the territorial control and financial authorities. The process is lengthy because alcohol, like tobacco, is subject to and taxed by the Excise, State Monopoly and Customs Administration. This is not the case in France or Germany has been de-alcoholising for 110 years.

But as I said, we Italians are late and have been late several times in history, but we are also very quick to catch up.



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