The European Commission has agreed to extend the deadline for mandatory labelling of allergens in wines until the end of 2010, a UK drinks association has said.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) said that following lobbying by itself and other wine bodies, with the support of the UK government, the extension from 31 May will save wine businesses thousands of pounds associated with the costs of re-labelling product ranges.

Late last year regulators agreed to adopt a flexible approach to the existing deadline to give some latitude to Southern Hemisphere wine producers facing the cost of re-labelling during the middle of the bottling process.

Now all wine producers will have an exemption from the requirement to indicate levels of egg and milk content in their products until 31 December 2010.

Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the WSTA, said: "The extension granted by the EU is a common sense approach and is to be welcomed.  It will help businesses in what remains a tough economic climate but also ensure labelling requirements are ultimately met in a fair way. "