Wine faces a threat it may not see coming around the corner. The unholy alliance of the trial lawyer bar and overzealous government bureaucrats threatens serious damage to the industry’s future. The good news is a lot of this can be defeated if the wine interest wakes up and decides it’s time to fight.
Two existential avoidable threats exist for the industry: 1. Nutritional requirements for wine bottles; and 2. Expanded health warnings for wine bottles.
The Nutritional Requirements pose the most immediate threat for the wine industry. Driven by a group notorious for suing the alcohol industry, The Center for Science Policy (CPSI), the TTB decided that in the near future it will engage in a Proposed Rulemaking process to determine how nutritional requirements on the wine bottle will be addressed.
The view of the major players in the wine industry does not provide great hope for the wine industry, with one leader conceding that the nutritional requirements on the bottle may be inevitable.
Some wine leaders view a QR code listing of information as a good compromise. The reasoning being that if the nutritional requirements are on the bottle it takes up valuable real estate, whereas if there is a QR code, it can preserve the valuable real estate and still provide the nutritional information. This is all good and true, but it misses a major point, nutritional requirements on wine will become a major shot in the arm for the trail lawyer bar.
History demonstrates that the food industry with its heavy nutritional information listings, faces many class action lawsuits on the most ridiculous and miniscule of issues.
Supporters of the nutritional labeling requirements point to the EU as to why the requirements are kosher. However, this misses a main distinction, Europe does not suffer from class action fever like the U.S. does.
The lethargic feelings of wine industry leaders are even more disappointing considering only 38% of the public believes ingredient labeling should be required.
With a lack of public support behind a nutritional labeling requirement, the tail wagging the dog is controlled by a powerful special interest, the trail lawyer’s bar.
It amazes me why the wine industry sits back and watches as the trial bar attempts to severely injure the wine industry. Although the trial bar is one of the most powerful interests in the Democratic Party, the wine industry with a sizable influence within California, should be able to use their political power to stop nutritional labeling requirements dead in its tracks.
The other issue, which could rear its ugly head soon is the expanded health warnings for wine bottles. What started out as a bad idea originating from Ireland is starting to take serious form. Driven by zealous bureaucrats within the Irish Health Ministry, in May of 2026 Ireland will mandate stringent labeling requirements for alcohol, which will require graphic pictures of the health risk associated with alcohol.
Under the Irish law there is no provision for a QR code as the graphic health warnings need to be on the bottle.
Remember with the nutritional requirements where the QR code can remedy the problem of labeling requirements taking up valuable real estate on the bottle, with the Irish model there is no such compromise. Under the Irish model the health warnings go onto the bottle and severely encroaches on the bottle’s valuable real estate.
The bad idea of nutritional labeling requirements came from across the pond and washed up onto U.S. shores. Don’t be surprised if the Irish monstrosity gets picked up by an interest group in America intent on making beacuoup bucks suing or by some zealous bureaucrat that wants to dictate norms and change the industry.
Wine has a choice to make, and it is time to draw a line in the sand before things spiral out of control.