Starting from December 8th, 2023, new labeling requirements for wine sold in the EU are set to come into effect. As a result, global wine brands and winemakers are now finding ways to comply with these new regulations by implementing QR codes and e-labels.
In this article, we will guide you through the essential steps to ensure compliance with the new EU wine label rules using QR codes.
By following these steps, wine brands and winemakers can successfully navigate the new labeling requirements and ensure that their products are compliant with the new regulations.
What are QR codes?
QR codes, also known as “Quick Response” codes, are two-dimensional barcodes that store information, which can be quickly retrieved using a smartphone or a QR code reader.
QR codes have become increasingly popular due to their ability to quickly and efficiently scan and store various types of information. Widely used and highly useful tools in the digital world, QR codes can store text, web addresses, contact details, WiFi passwords, and more.
They have become an essential tool for businesses and individuals alike who need to share information quickly and easily.
Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota, developed QR codes in 1994 to track automotive parts during manufacturing. Since then, QR codes have found diverse applications, including advertising, ticketing, and, most notably, product labeling.
The dos and don’ts of QR code usage
In our increasingly digital world, QR codes have seamlessly integrated into modern society, shaping our interactions and experiences.
These square-shaped patterns of black squares on a white background seem to be everywhere – from restaurant menus to product labels.
The question arises: when should QR codes be used, and when are they simply a superfluous addition, a gimmick that adds no real value to the user experience?
The dos of QR code usage include:
- considering the context and user intent,
- providing clear instructions,
- providing compelling reasons to scan the code, and
- ensuring that scanning the code adds genuine value to the user experience.
- In marketing materials, QR codes can redirect users to a website, promotional offer, or product demonstration video.
- In restaurants, QR codes on menus can provide detailed nutritional information, and allergen alerts, or even allow guests to place orders directly from their smartphones.
- In museums, QR codes next to exhibits can offer visitors in-depth information or interactive multimedia experiences.
In these contexts, QR codes serve a purpose – they enhance the user experience, providing instant access to relevant and valuable information.
The don’ts of QR code usage include:
- displaying QR codes without context,
- creating a sense of apathy or annoyance among users, and
- rendering the code useless, which can harm the brand’s reputation.
- Placing QR codes on billboards along highways, where drivers can’t realistically scan them, is a classic example of thoughtless implementation.
- In print media, where the URL is already visible and easily typable, a QR code might just be an unnecessary redundancy.
- Using QR codes to simply redirect users to a homepage or a generic landing page adds no value and can be perceived as lazy marketing.
As we mentioned above, considering the user experience and context before slapping a QR code onto anything and everything is extremely important.
When implemented thoughtfully, QR codes can bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds, offering users a seamless and enriching experience.
What is a QR code for a wine e-label?
A QR code is a type of barcode that is printed on a light background to make it easier to read. Its main purpose is to direct the person who scans it to a specific wine producer’s website or webpage.
A wine e-label is a dedicated webpage that contains structured information about a particular product, intended for a specific market. This e-label is accessible to consumers through a unique QR code printed on the back label of the product.
When consumers scan the QR code with their smartphone, they should be taken to the e-label of the product they have scanned.
The label should be available in the appropriate language and include all the necessary information required by the EU legislative, determined through geo-localization.
How to be compliant with EU wine label rules by using QR codes?
There are strict rules on how to solve the problem of displaying the required information using the QR code. This is where the Craft Technology e-label comes in. We provide winemakers with a 100% compliant future-proof solution that covers everything and provides a little extra.
The way this should work is by using QR codes that have to be printed on the wine labels. The QR codes will then point to the webpage where information will be disclosed.
What are the benefits of using the e-label and QR codes to display the required information?
E-labels and QR codes are a suitable solution for winemakers to comply with EU regulations. They provide crucial benefits for wine producers, such as:
- The QR code allows automatic translation of the label into the customer’s preferred EU language.
- E-labels offer the advantage of real-time updates, allowing for swift and efficient correction of any errors noted after label creation.
- The QR code on the label takes up minimal space, maintaining the design while providing consumers with the requested information.
Why should winemakers choose wine industry experts to provide e-label solutions?
The team behind the Craft Technology e-label has a proven track record in software development, tech, and marketing but above all, we are wine industry experts who understand what keeps winemakers up at night.
That is why the Craft Technology e-label is simple to use – gather data and upload either manually or via CSV.
- It is fast, you can have your QR code created in a matter of minutes;
- It provides you with multilingual support, data is translated into all 24 EU languages based on the location of the customer;
- It’s flexible, if you’ve made a mistake or you’d like to change the content a QR code points to, you can do that fast, thanks to our dynamic QR codes.
How to start creating QR codes by using Craft Technology’s e-label solution?
Our comprehensive solution enables winemakers to achieve compliance within a matter of hours.
To get started, all you need to do is collect your wine information and upload it onto our platform. You can either manually enter the data or use our bulk upload feature through a CSV file.
Once you’ve uploaded your data, you’ll be provided with a customizable dynamic QR code. This code can be modified as needed and added to your bottle label. By scanning this code, your customers can easily access the information about your wine.
At Craft Technology, we take care of the technical and legal aspects of your data while ensuring that you are up-to-date with any changes to the law. Our e-label solution provides all the necessary tools to help you achieve and maintain compliance with legislative requirements.
We have compiled a comprehensive list of features that are specifically designed to cater to the needs of the winemaking industry.
For instance, if you are unsure about the accuracy of the data you have entered for your wine bottles, worry not! We provide an additional service where we consolidate and upload all the information for you.
With our “Peace-of-Mind Compliance Check“, our team conducts a thorough review of your data to ensure that it aligns perfectly with EU standards.
You can relax, knowing that your wine label data is compliant and on point, without breaking the bank. This offer includes a data review of up to 30 SKUs. You just need to provide us with all the necessary data in digital format. In case of any discrepancies or additional work required, there may be extra costs. However, we will always keep you informed before proceeding with any changes.
There’s no risk, that’s why Craft Technology offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with our Craft Technology e-label service. You can also switch to another provider at any time without any questions asked.
Explore our plans and choose the one that suits you best. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us for more information and support.
NOTE: All Craft Technology e-label users will receive special benefits and early access to Craft Technology SAAS, enabling craft makers to digitally transform their business and build lasting relationships. Stay tuned for more details.
Step-by-step guide to implementing a QR code solution for EU wine label compliance
In summary, here’s how our e-label solution works:
STEP 1: Winemaker gathers and organizes information and data
STEP 2: The winemaker uploads the wine info into e-label software
STEP 3: The wine’s e-label web page and QR code are created
STEP 4: The QR code is downloaded and sent to the wine label producer
STEP 5: The QR code is printed on the label
To ensure compliance with EU regulations, it is necessary to repeat the process annually for newly produced wines intended for sale within the EU.
Let’s go over each step in more detail to provide more information for better understanding.
Step 1: Organize the product information
To ensure that your e-label solution contains all the necessary wine product information, it is important to organize the information. The following information is essential for e-labels and includes both recommended (optional) and compulsory information.
Product information must include:
- Wine variety
- Nutritional information
- Allergen declaration
- Origin Country
- Importer, bottler, and producer
- Geographical Indications
- Vintage year
- Alcohol by Volume percentage (ABV)
- Net quantity in milliliters
- Residual sugar content (RS)
- Grape variety specific to the vintage
- Product Description
- Date of expiration
Do you have wine data that you don’t want to manage on your own? Don’t worry, we understand, and we’re here to help! With our “We Do It For You Data Input And QR Code Quickstart” offer, our team can quickly input your data and set up QR codes for you in just three days.
All you need to do is provide us with your information in a digital format, whether it’s lab reports or ingredient lists, and we’ll create QR codes for up to 30 of your wine bottles in just three working days!
To take advantage of our quick and efficient service, we require that you provide all of your information in digital format. If there is anything missing or unclear, we may require extra time and resources, resulting in additional costs. However, we will inform you of any price increases before proceeding, so you can make an informed decision.
Let us take care of your wine data and QR code needs, so you can focus on what you do best – making great wine!
- Serving sizes
In accordance with the EU legal requirements, it is mandatory to provide nutritional and energy information based on a 100ml serving size. However, the provision of information based on other serving sizes is also allowed and may be advisable.
- Date of expiration
In compliance with regulation (EU) 2021/2117, it is mandatory to provide a minimum durability or expiration date for wines that have undergone partial de-alcoholization and possess an ABV of less than 10%.
Ingredients should be listed in descending order of weight, and additives should be categorized as per Article 18 of Regulation (EU) 1169/2011.
- Nutritional facts
You need to provide the nutritional facts for each wine product, which include:
- Energy (may or may not be auto-calculated by your e-label solution)
- Allergens and intolerances
Any allergens or intolerances must be printed on the physical label, and, if you are using an e-label or digital label solution, those must be displayed there as well. See (Article 21(1)(b) of Regulation (EU) 1169/2011).
How to calculate the energy value of wine?
According to the regulation, there are two acceptable methods of energy calculation:
- Method 1: Formula calculator with conversion factors based on sugar, alcohol, and several other parameters.
- Method 2: Using a general average value for individual types of wine, such as red-dry, sparkling-sweet, etc.
What is defined as an ingredient?
Ingredient means “any substance or product, including flavorings, food additives, and food enzymes, and any constituent of a compound ingredient, used in the manufacture or preparation of a food and still present in the finished product, even if in an altered form; residues shall not be considered as ‘ingredients’” (Article 2 of (EU) 1169/2011)
Additives and processing aids
Starting from December 8th, 2023, it will be permissible to specify up to three alternative ingredients in the list of ingredients for wine products that function as
- acidity regulators and
- stabilizing agents
provided that they are similar or mutually substitutable in their role. Additionally, only up to three alternative ingredients can be used. The phrase “contains… and/or” should be used in the list of ingredients, followed by no more than three additives.
However, if the additives used in the wine products vary from batch to batch, this permission will apply only to the additives that fall under the categories of acidity regulators and stabilizing agents.
Do you need to translate the e-label to all EU languages?
As per the law, it is necessary to provide e-labels in the languages that are used in the markets where the products are sold. Additionally, EU member countries have the right to specify the languages in which the e-labels should be displayed.
Craft Technology’s e-label solution offers translated versions of your e-labels in all 24 EU languages. The language displayed will depend on either the country where the e-label QR code is scanned or the language of the user’s system.
If you are opting for a solution, it’s important to consider organizing translations of your product information and ingredients at this step.
Our advanced solutions with auto-translation and translation management can help eliminate the need to prepare this information in advance. You can simply review and polish translations at a later stage. Once you have gathered all the aforementioned information for each of your wine products, you can move on to Step 2.
Step 2: Upload the wine product info into the e-label solution
Craft Technology’s e-label solution offers a bulk option for inputting SKU information into the e-label software.
- Bulk upload: Effortlessly manage large datasets with our platform. We support bulk data uploads through the API, accommodating formats like CSV and Excel, making the process efficient and hassle-free. This refers to uploading a document, such as a CSV, to your e-label solution. It is advisable to do this if you have a few dozen to hundreds of SKUs, and it would save significant time in your process. Moreover, it would help prevent data input errors that could impact your compliance.
Step 3: Create a wine e-label web page and QR code
Each wine product (SKU) will have its own electronic label (e-label) and a unique Quick Response (QR) code to go with it. This means that if your brand sells ten different wines, each with its own e-label, you will need ten different QR codes. Once you’ve designed your e-labels, you should be able to generate and download the QR codes that point to them.
Step 4: Download the QR code and send it to the wine label producer
It’s important to download your QR codes in a format that can be easily used by your printer or incorporated into your printing process.
Formats available are:
- eps, and
Once you’ve downloaded it, be sure to understand where it should be placed on the label (see step 5) and send it to your wine label producer for printing.
Step 5: The QR code is printed on the label
The QR code is printed on the wine label by a specialized producer. If you are wondering where QR codes should be placed on the label, most wineries prefer to print them on the back label to avoid interfering with the brand’s visual identity.
If you have any questions regarding QR codes on wine labels, feel free to ask our customer service.
FAQ about the QR codes
What information needs to be included on the QR codes?
The current regulations don’t specify any mandatory text to be displayed around or on the QR code. While some companies are incorporating an “i” in the center of the QR code to denote “get more info”, others are using phrases like “Scan for info” or “Scan for more info” and placing them next to the QR code.
This “call-to-action” helps clarify the purpose of the QR code and encourages consumers to scan it. It’s important to note that the QR codes may be scanned in markets outside of the E.U. Therefore, it’s essential to prioritize information accordingly. For instance, branding for the product or winery, authenticity check features, etc., can all be redirected based on geo-location parameters and triggers.
What is the recommended size for printing the QR code on the label?
It is recommended to use a QR code size that falls between 13mm x 13mm and 16mm x 16mm, excluding the quiet zone. If the size is smaller than 13mm x 13mm, the consumer will need to position their camera very close to the QR code for scanning. On the other hand, if the size is larger than 16mm x 16mm, the consumer will need to stand far away from the code for scanning. It is better to keep the size in the middle range to avoid scanning issues.
Every QR code should have a quiet zone, which is a white area surrounding the code.
The recommended size for the quiet zone is four times larger than the individual cells in the QR code. For instance, for a 10 mm QR code, the quiet zone should be 1.5 mm. Before printing the QR code on the label, please check with your label designer or printing provider that the downloaded QR code image from your e-label solution can be printed at 300 dpi or higher resolution at your desired label size.
What color should be used for printing the QR code?
For the best results, we suggest using a black QR code on a white background. While it may be possible to use other dark colors on a light background, we recommend testing the print with a standard QR code reader app first. Inverted QR codes with white on black background can also work, but they too require sufficient contrast and should be tested beforehand.
Is it possible to use a QR code with a shape other than a square?
QR codes are limited to square shapes only. However, it is still possible to create creative effects by embedding square QR codes in non-square shapes, such as a rotated square, a parallelogram, a diamond, etc. In such cases, it is important to ensure that the necessary quiet zone is maintained.
What is the resolution required for printing the QR code?
To avoid any scanning issues faced by consumers, we suggest using a resolution of 300 dpi or higher.
If you have already printed QR codes on wine labels from a specific vendor, can you switch to a different e-label vendor?
The Craft Technology e-label solution uses a dynamic QR code with a future redirect option. This means that we offer URL redirection even after you terminate the use of our e-label service. The customer scanning the QR code on wine with QR codes from us would first open a webpage hosted by us. Then, our browser would redirect them to the e-label on your new vendor platform.
This approach ensures that the customer can seamlessly access the e-label, regardless of the vendor, and without any confusion.
Craft Technology is an established solution provider made by industry experts, with a track record of satisfied customers, who will be in business for the duration of your wine’s market presence. In case you have any additional questions regarding this issue, feel free to contact our customer service.
Is it possible for a single QR code to be used for multiple purposes, including e-labels?
Your e-label can include a direct link to your website. However, it is not permissible to link to pages that contain marketing information, such as
- product sales,
- event invitations,
- loyalty programs, and so on.
For more information:
- New EU wine label regulations: Complete guide for wineries
- Why use QR codes to comply with new EU wine regulations?
- In-house e-labeling: Avoid costly errors
- New EU wine labeling: Compliance made simple
- Data collection for winemakers: Mastering e-label upload
NOTE: Please be advised that the information presented in this article is not intended to provide legal advice or guarantee accuracy. You should always check the latest EU regulations to confirm the latest requirements and comply with applicable laws.