Europe’s wine growers have a hangover even before Brussels’ proposals on radical reform of their sector are announced. Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel is brandishing the shears, set to propose that 200,000 hectares of vines be destroyed, in return for cash incentives for their owners.
On the eve of the formal tabling of the plan, the head of the Brussels-based NGO representing European farmers, Copa-Cogeca, objected: Jean-Louis Piton said she: “…wants to introduce another model into the EU, which we think will be done too abruptly, too extremely; This introduction risks sweeping away the traditional model.”
That’s exactly what Brussels intends. In Piton’s country, France, the wine industry is suffering from a dive in consumption and a sales onslaught from the newer producing countries. Top-end European wines are still successful but lower quality producers are selling at a loss and slurping up subsidies. The EU’s plans include simpler labelling and promoting the best.