A Guide to Implement EU QR-Code for Wine Labeling

Vanessa Angel
Vanessa Angel
March 8, 2024
9 min read
Last Update
Woman in wine shop scanning a QR code on a wine bottle label, exemplifying practical use of digital labeling for EU compliance.

As E.U. wine labeling regulations evolve, wineries are embracing QR codes and digital labels to meet new requirements effectively. This article offers a comprehensive guide to achieving compliance through QR codes and digital labels.

A Guide to Implement EU QR-Code for Wine Labeling

Wine producers are gravitating towards QR codes and digital labels due to two primary advantages:

  1. Cost-effective Updates: Avoid the cumbersome process of altering physical label designs by employing dynamic QR codes. This dynamic nature permits changes and updates without modifying the label itself.
  2. Flexible Information Delivery: QR codes can be incorporated into printed labels, while digital labels can be modified over time as required, ensuring alignment with evolving regulations.

To facilitate compliance, brands opting for QR codes follow these steps:

Step 1: Organize Wine Information

Organize necessary data for each wine product, including:

  • Wine variety
  • Nutritional information
  • Allergen declaration
  • Origin country
  • Importer, bottler, and producer details
  • Vintage year
  • Alcohol by Volume (ABV) percentage
  • Net quantity
  • Sugar content
  • Vine variety specifics
  • Product description
  • Date of expiration
  • Serving sizes

Step 2: Input Data into E-Label Solution

Input SKU data into your e-label solution or give us your file and we will do it for you. Select the languages you need for automatic translation.

Step 3: Download QR Codes

Generate and download QR codes for individual wine products, ensuring compatibility with your printing process.

Step 4: Design and Print Labels

Incorporate QR codes into label designs. QR codes can be placed on the back label, maintaining brand integrity. Ask for our designer's help, they will be happy to support you!

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What serving sizes are required for providing nutritional and energy information?

The regulation mandates that nutritional and energy details must be provided for a 100ml serving size. Additionally, you have the option to include this information for another serving size. Popular wines such as red, white, and rosé are commonly served in amounts of 125ml or 150ml. The standard serving size in European bars is typically 125ml, but you may consider specifying country-specific measurements as well.

Do I have to provide a date of expiration?

For wines that have undergone (partial) de-alcoholization with an ABV below 10%, it is mandatory to include a date indicating the minimum durability or expiration. This requirement is outlined in regulation (EU) 2021/2117.

How can I organize the ingredients, allergens and intolerances?

Listing of ingredients on the e-label must follow a descending order of weight, aligning with the guidelines in Article 18 of regulation (EU) 1169/2011. Additionally, additives should be categorized for clarity.

Allergens or intolerances need to be included on the physical label. Additionally, if an e-label or digital label solution is utilized, these details must also be presented there. Refer to (Article 21(1)(b) of regulation (EU) 1169/2011).

What are the authorized methods for calculating energy?

As per the regulation, there are two approved approaches for calculating energy:

Method 1: Employing a formula calculator that considers conversion factors related to sugar, alcohol, and other parameters. Don't worry! It is available on our tool!

Method 2: Utilizing a general average value for each wine type, such as red-dry or sparkling-brut, as outlined in a self-regulatory document.

How is an "ingredient" defined according to the wine labeling law?

The term "ingredient" is defined as "any substance or product, including flavorings, food additives and food enzymes, and any constituent of a compound ingredient, used in the manufacture or preparation of a food and still present in the finished product, even if in an altered form; residues shall not be considered as 'ingredients'" (Article 2 of (EU) 1169/2011).

What changes will be allowed in the ingredient list of wine products in relation to 'acidity regulators' and 'stabilizing agents'?

Starting from December 8, 2023, it will be permissible to list 'acidity regulators' and 'stabilizing agents' in the ingredient list of wine products using up to three alternative ingredients. These alternatives should serve similar or interchangeable functions, with the condition that at least one of these additives is present in the final product. The required wording for the ingredient list is "contains... and/or," followed by a maximum of three additives.

In case the additives vary from batch to batch, this allowance is authorized only for additives falling under the categories ‘acidity regulators’ and ‘stabilising agents’ and up to no more than three alternative ingredients. The expression to be used in the list of ingredients is “contains… and/or” followed by no more than three additives.

QR Code Printing Guidelines:

When printing QR codes on labels, it's essential to consider the following factors for optimal functionality:

  1. Size: For effective scanning, we suggest a QR code size between 13mm x 13mm and 16mm x 16mm. This range balances proximity requirements – larger codes need more distance, smaller codes need closer proximity.
  2. Quiet Zone: Every QR code must have a surrounding "quiet" zone, typically four times the size of a single cell within the code (e.g., 1.5 mm for a 10 mm QR code). This clear space enhances scanning accuracy.
  3. Color and Contrast: For best results, use a black QR code on a white background. While dark colors on light backgrounds may work, it's advisable to test them with standard QR code reader apps. Inverted colors (white on black) are feasible but should be tested for adequate contrast.
  4. Shape: QR codes are inherently square-shaped. However, creative embedding of square QR codes within non-square shapes, like rotated squares or parallelograms, can be explored. Always maintain the necessary quiet zone in such cases.
  5. Resolution: To ensure successful scans by consumers, your QR code image should be printable at 300 dpi or higher. High resolution prevents scanning issues and maintains code integrity.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can optimize your QR code printing for seamless scanning and enhanced user experience.

Presenting Future Possibilities

Embracing QR codes and digital labels for compliance brings more benefits than just adherence to regulations. As the wine industry evolves, these practices enable wineries to:

  • Focus on marketing on physical labels, as ingredient lists and nutritional data are streamlined through QR codes.
  • Anticipate future regulation requirements by adding necessary elements to digital labels.
  • Target specific consumer markets by using multilingual QR codes that provide relevant information based on location.

Concluding Thoughts

QR codes and digital labels offer a pragmatic solution for wineries navigating E.U. wine labeling rules. Beyond compliance, they empower brands to allocate resources efficiently, prioritize marketing efforts, and adapt to changing industry landscapes. By embracing these innovative practices, wineries contribute to a consumer-centric, transparent, and sustainable wine industry.

This is a concise compilation of key information extracted from current legal provisions. However, it is important to note that this collection does not constitute legal advice and may be subject to updates.

Want to learn more?

QRFox.eu is excited to offer our technology and expertise to remove the headaches involved in complying with the E.U. wine labeling Regulation. Learn more about our solution, sign up for our free tool, or contact us today to learn about our solution.

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