Health Labels May Have 'Devastating Effect' On Wine Industry: IWA
Irish consumers could be facing higher prices for wine, as a result of a new proposal in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, according to the Irish Wine Association (IWA).
The Bill proposes mandatory cancer warning labels on all alcohol products sold in the Republic of Ireland, which means that companies would have to produce a specific label for the Irish market.
The IWA says that this measure would be 'logistical nightmare' for wine importers, and have a 'devastating effect' on Ireland's wine industry, meaning less choice for consumers and an increase in business costs, which could lead to higher prices.
"Today, Irish consumers are more sophisticated when it comes to food and today they are blessed with an array of some of the world’s finest wines, which is ideal for food pairing," said Jim Bradley, chair of the IWA and of wine distributor Febvre & Company.
"Unfortunately, this bill poses a threat to the variety currently on offer to Ireland’s wine drinkers."
The IWA says that the Alcohol Bill could be interpreted as a 'barrier to the free movement of goods' within the EU, putting Ireland at odds with 10 EU member states, most of which are wine-producing nations.
It adds that, as the country is a relatively small market, Ireland may become an unviable market for exports.
"While the wine industry fully supports the objectives of the Alcohol Bill, to tackle harmful drinking and underage consumption, it is important that any measures that are introduced as evidence-based," added Bradley.
"The evidence that the Department of Health has presented on the Alcohol Bill’s effectiveness to tackle alcohol misuse is questionable at best.”
The Alcohol Bill is also proposing a minimum until price on wine.
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