The sugar question divides Europe

Tensions over chaptalisation have been reignited by a proposal to exclude the use of sugar in wine labelling and erratic weather linked to climate change, reports Barnaby Eales.

Left: Gabriel Yravedra, former president of the OIV, Middle: Ignacio Sánchez Recarte, general secretary at CEEV, Right:Xavier Farré, vice-chairman of the Cava DO regulatory board 

Left: Gabriel Yravedra, former president of the OIV, Middle: Ignacio Sánchez Recarte, general secretary at CEEV, Right: Xavier Farré, vice-chairman of the Cava DO regulatory board 

European wine producers are waging a new battle over chaptalisation, a method whereby sucrose is added to must to raise the potential alcohol level of wine prior to fermentation. 

The renewed sugar feud, between southern producers on the one hand and northern and eastern European wine producers on the other, has been rekindled by two factors. 

The first was a proposal to self-regulate the listing of ingredients on wine labels, which was presented in March 2018 to the European Commission by wine lobby groups the European Committee of Wine Companies (CEEV), and Copa-Cogeca, the committee which represents farmers and agriculture co-operatives. 

This sparked the ire of southern European producers who are....

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