The question of why, unlike food and soft drinks, wine labelling should be free of the requirement to list ingredients and nutritional values, has long been a matter for fierce debate.
In Europe, however, the matter is now settled. From January 2023 all wine sold in the EU will have to be labelled with an indication of the calorie content and the presence – if any – of a potential allergen. A full nutritional declaration and ingredient list can also appear on the label but these may be provided digitally, with access via a website or QR code.
This last concession to wine producers who were against having to clutter up their back labels comes with two provisos however. The digital label cannot be contain other information about the wine or winery etc, and user data cannot be captured.
These restrictions raise an interesting issue for the small number of wineries that have been using QR codes as marketing and sales tools. Will they now have two QR codes to do the two separate jobs? Or might they have a scannable AR front label for marketing and a legally-required QR code on the back?
And what about the tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of European wine producers who have no back label or experience of QR codes or AR labels?
The next few months may see an explosion of new businesses offering these kinds of services.