A scotch whisky distiller, when asked recently if he made any blends, was gloriously sniffy and dismissive of blended whisky. It would have been interesting to see and hear what he would have made of the Johnnie Walker Directors Blends, which I got to taste last Thursday (November 28) in London.
The intergovernmental, scientific and technical reference organisation for wine and viticultural products, the OIV, states that among its objectives to contribute to international harmonisation of existing practices and standards and, as necessary, to the preparation of new international standards in order to improve the conditions for producing and marketing vine and wine products, and to help ensure that the interests of consumers are taken into account.
The OIV’s general assembly has adopted unanimously four resolutions that address both the expectations of the vitivinicultural sector and a growing appetite of consumers for low-alcohol or directly dealcoholised beverages of vitivinicultural origin.
Resolutions OIV-ECO 432-2012 and OIV-ECO 433-2012 update the International Code of Oenological Practices with the inclusion of two new definitions for “beverage obtained by dealcoholisation of wine” and “beverage obtained by partial dealcoholisation of wine”.
Resolutions OIV-OENO 394A-2012 and OIV-OENO 394B-2012, on the other hand, specify the separation techniques that can be used either to dealcoholise wines or to correct the alcohol content of wines, respectively.
Through the adoption of resolutions OIV-OENO 394A-2012 and OIV-OENO 394B-2012, OIV member-states specify the conditions for reducing the alcohol content of wine, differentiating between a correction of the alcohol content and a dealcoholisation of the wine.
Correcting the alcohol content of a particular wine, which means to reduce an envisaged excessive level of ethanol to improve its taste balance, is allowed with a maximum reduction of 20%. Products obtained through this practice must still conform to the definition of wine, and especially keep the minimum alcoholic strength of wines, if they are to be presented as such.
Otherwise, if the alcohol content of the wine is reduced by more than 20%, it will fall under a dealcoholisation process, which means to remove part or almost all of the ethanol content in wine in order to develop vitivinicultural products with low or reduced alcohol content.