What is and isn't Wine?
It is always very tempting to define wine by what it represents, culturally, historically and socially, rather than what it actually is. While most people associate wine with the grapey stuff, it gets really confusing when we hear about fruit wine, orange wine, barley wine, flavoured wines...
The definition we stand by is the one most people around the world would agree on, i.e. the fermented alcoholic drink made from grapes only. The European Union’s definition is actually pretty strict, stating it is “the product obtained exclusively from the total or partial alcoholic fermentation of fresh grapes, whether or not crushed, or of grape must”. Fresh grapes should also be fermented in the region they have been picked to qualify for any regional appellations. Wine alcoholic strength should remain between 8.5% ABV and 15% ABV, although some derogations do exist for colder or warmer regions.
We have seen a lot of products recently on the shelves that blur the lines between wine and other alcoholic drinks. Echo Falls Summer Berries for instance is a 5.5% ABV alcopop mix of wine and fruit flavourings and falls into the Alcoholic Mixed Beverage category, not wine. Non-alcoholic or low alcohol wines also fall short - they belong to the wine based drink category, as the original wine went through a complex de-alcoholisation process.