Winemakers, tear up your vines – 400,000 hectares of them, or 12% of the EU’s viticultural surface area. Europe’s farm chief plans to offer cash rewards over the next five years. She has called for a radical shift towards better quality to hang on to the EU’s number one place in the world market. Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fisher Boel has published a communication aiming to shake up the EU’s wine industry. The problem is overproduction and lack of competitiveness.
“It is quite clear that the New World wines are snapping up a growing share of the market .” Boel said Europe needed to adapt faster to consumer wants – through simplified labelling rules -through concerted European policies promoting the responsible consumption of wine in Europe and in third countries. The bloc currently represents 60% of global production and consumption.
Boel questioned the practice of spending 500 million euros a year on crisis distillation of unwanted wine into industrial alcohol and only 14 million euros on promotion, saying this showed a failure in communication. Brussels is recommending that subsidies be re-oriented to discourage surpluses.