The future of so-called 'tonic wines' produced in the UK, such as Scotland's Buckfast brand, would be protected from the deadening hand of European Union (EU) centralisation, if an amendment to a directive on vitamin-enriched food and drink is approved.

The European Parliament's environment and food safety committee has exempted them from the directive's suggested ban on enriching alcoholic drinks of 1.2% abv or above with vitamins and other minerals.

UK tonic wines were invented in Victorian times as medicinal products; Viper's Bugloss Tonic Wine, for example, contained the herb Echium, which supposedly "comforts the heart and drives away melancholy." Today they are sold on the general market.

The committee also proposed an exemption for certain marker chemicals used by the spirits industry to check against counterfeit products.