Red, white, but not blue: Spain bans wine because it’s the wrong colour

Fiona Govan
Fiona Govan - [email protected]
Red, white, but not blue: Spain bans wine because it’s the wrong colour
Can blue wine challenge pink? Photo: Gik

When five young Spaniards came up with the idea of marketing a blue wine, it was dismissed by Spain’s traditional vintners as a gimmick that would never take off.


But since launching on the market last summer, Gik has shaken up the industry and sold close to 100,000 bottles to clients in some 25 countries, becoming something of a must-have tipple among young hipsters.

But now, the producers have been told they cannot market their produce as ‘wine’ because it is the wrong colour.

"It is absurd because its composition is 100 percent grape," explain the entrepreneurs behind the product.

The vino is created from a selection of Spanish grape varieties and then turned a deep electric blue hue with the addition of anthyocyacin, a natural pigment extracted from grape skin, and indigo, a natural dye derived from the woad plant.

When they launched the product last summer, the team behind Gik admitted that they had no experience of wine-making between them and that the colour made no difference at all to the taste.

"Drinking Gïk is not just about drinking blue wine," read the blurb reported by The Local at the time. "You are drinking innovation, you are breaking the rules and creating your own ones. You are reinventing tradtitions."

The founders now admit that: "There's no revolution without a counter-revolution."

"When we created Gik, our aim was to innovate in the most traditional sector of our country: wine industry. They considered us fools for trying. They called us blasphemous for 'playing' with Christ's blood. But nothing stopped us," explain the Gik founders in a petition they have launched on calling for support in their fight for recognition as a wine.

"But in the end, the Spanish wine lobby, helped by some public institutions, stopped our revolution by imposing prohibitons and sanctions.

"In order to continue selling, we have been forced to stop labelling Gik as a wine. Instead, we had to label it as a bastard category named 'Other alcoholic drinks'. The main reason? There's not a category for a blue wine, as there is no historic background for anything similar.

Last August, following an anonymous complaint, the young creators of Gik were visited by two inspectors and the product was stopped pending an investigation.

They were told that as there is no 'blue wine' category among the 17 listed wine products mentioned in Annex VII part II of Regulation 1308/2013,  it cannot therefore be labelled as"wine" and a fine was imposed accordingly.

They have had to change the labelling on the product to  "99 percent wine and 1 percent grape must" to ensure the product meets the requirements of current legislation.

Correction: This article was amended to clarify that the producers were not taken to court over the labelling.


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