This document presents a comparison of legislation about the additives and processes that can be used in winemaking, which are collectively known as oenological practices. It considers five jurisdictions: South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the European Union. The comparison covers the different styles of legislation, details of which oenological practices are permitted, the relationship between legislation about quality and that about oenological practices, regimes that limit additive use such as organic wine production and environmentally-friendly wine production (specifically the South African Integrated Production of Wine Scheme), regulation of wine importation, multilateral and EU bilateral wine trade agreements, and labelling of additives.
The comparison shows that some basic practices such as alcohol increase by addition of substances, sweetening and deacidification and/or acidification are common to all five jurisdictions. For most functions of additives, the legislation of each jurisdiction permits some substance or process to achieve that function. Two major functions for which there are differences are type of wooding permitted, and the addition of flavour extracted from grapes and colouring. There are also differences in the specific additives and processes that are permitted.
There are a number of different approaches for the import of wine from requiring imported wine to use the same oenological practices as the wines of the country into which it is imported, to the EU's approach of bilateral wine trade agreements with individual countries that cover permitted oenological practices, and the multilateral Mutual Acceptance Agreement on Oenological Practices. In terms of labelling of additives, all jurisdictions will soon require labelling of sulphites and Australia and New Zealand require the labelling of additional allergens.
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