How do you make rosé? Add red wine to white wine (according to the EU)

This one really takes the cake. I mean, we’ve heard about a number of dumb things being done in Europe – and especially in France – to weaken and vilify wine.

Laws that prohibit just about every publicity about wine, and equate its online presence to pornography, a prohibitionist mood that seems to rival the American one from the 19th Century, new rules on appellations that are not exactly a boon for preserving the centuries-old identity of regions and vineyards… Things are not going great for this pillar of French culture, to use a euphemism. So much so that a recent survey showed that a majority of citizens judged that wine was “risky”.

But now, the whiz kids that are putting together wine regulations for the EU have gone on to apply the same brilliant kind of reasoning to the way wine is made. On January 27, the EU published a project for new regulations on oenological practices that would allow producers to make rosé wine by blending red wine with white wine. The practice could also be used to lighten color in red wines.

So the EU regulators are essentially turning what is normally a joke about bad winemaking into a reality.

Rosé wines, as a rule, do not come from a mix of red and white wines. In fact, that practice is actively discouraged everywhere, when it is not forbidden by law.

The Association générale de la production viticole, which brings together a number of national wine organisations, is actively protesting what it calls “an aberration”, not only because of tradition, but also because it would result in higher production costs.

They have good reason to be angry. There is certainly nothing that would help anyone believe that this would lead to quality wines, on the contrary.

Hopefully, the opposition will be able to move quickly. The projected regulation is published for 60 days. If no amendments are brought forward by then, it goes into effect without any further delay. So that gives the wine world 30 days, from today, to bring the EU to its senses. I hope it will be enough.


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  1. We’ve put together a brief behind-the-scenes video at the award-winning Gaspereau Wineries in Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia. It’s worth your while!

  2. […] rosés to be made from a blend of white and red wines. This commercially-minded regulation, which I’d written about with dismay in February, was explicitely aimed at making rosés that would be competitive in the Asian markets. Let’s […]

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