Sovio Wines will go to the UK High Court next month to challenge a Food Standard Agency (FSA) ruling that banned its reduced alcohol wine.

A formal judicial review will take place on 9 February, Hampshire-based Sovio said this week.

The FSA ruled in 2007 that Sovio's 8% alcohol wine was illegal under EU law due to the 'spinning cone' method the company used to reduce the level of alcohol in the semi-sparkling wine.

An additional dispute concerns labelling and an EU ruling that a wine with less than 9% alcohol cannot be labelled as conventional wine.

Sovio said it has consulted with Trading Standards who gave written approval of the product and its labelling.

It said that the FSA's "conduct and attitudes" fly in the face of government measures to crack down on excessive drinking and the UK's booze culture. Not only that, says Sovio, but the FSA was just "plain wrong" in its interpretation of EU law.

If successful, Sovio could claim hundreds of thousands of pounds in damages.

"It's crazy that this product, which is pure undiluted premium wine, and combines total integrity of flavour with much lower alcohol content, is somehow illegal," said Tony Dann, chairman of Sovio Wines.

The original Sovio banned by the FSA was produced in Spain, but a new production batch, this time from California, is now on the shelves of Waitrose.