Eurojuris News


Developing a taste for wine

Specialist wine lawyer Hans Eichele says he favours a Riesling when he gets to enjoy a glass of wine

Dr Hans Eichele has a taste for wine that has brought him a unique place in the European food and wine sector.  But it’s not his finely tuned palate that has brought recognition, rather it’s his expertise in the complexities of law relating to wine and wineries. 

A lawyer with Eurojuris member firm Rohwedder & Partner Rechtsanwälte mbB in Mainz, Germany, when Hans had his first taste of the specialist discipline, he was less keen. 

“When I first joined Rohwedder as an intern, my senior partner was already engaged in wine law and I had to assist.  At first, I did not like dealing with the cascade of regulations, starting at the EU level, national law, then state law.  Now there is also the product specifications of the different designations of origin,” Hans explains.

“But the more I had to deal with it, the more I began to enjoy it. And since the product is quite nice, and the people who make wine usually are also very friendly and hospitable, this is a perfect field of law to work in!”

It is a niche legal field, with many new issues arising that have not been covered by the courts. One developing trend is towards low alcohol wines and de-alcoholised wines, posing new questions for those who produce and market such products.  Also, food law and wine law are increasingly growing together, challenging the mind-set of those previously dedicated to solely wine law. 

“New issues require legal handicraft from scratch, which is both challenging and fun.  And with wine law driven by EU law, and many ideas on protection of designations of origin or protected geographical indications coming from the south of Europe, as a German lawyer I have to adapt to that.  As a field of law it never becomes boring,”  he says. 

A member of the International Lawyers' Association in Wine Law (AIDV), Hans adds:  “German wineries and wine merchants work with wines from all over the world, and this is where Eurojuris comes in handy.  When questions come up on how to market wines in other EU countries, or what the legal requirements must be respected when bottling foreign wines here, I can rely on colleagues from the network.”

A glass of Riesling is favourite for Hans:  “Because it is fascinating to see in how many ways winemakers can develop this grape variety“.


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