EU farm ministers have reached a deal on reforming the bloc’s wine policy. Winemakers will be subsidised for digging up their vines over three years.
To end the vast surpluses of unsellable wine and help EU wines compete against cheaper New World rivals, EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel backtracked over many of her reform plan’s original elements in the face of fierce resistance from key EU wine producers.
The European Union is the world’s top producer, consumer, importer and exporter of wine, but home produce that finds no buyer receives public money to distil the surplus into industrial alcohol or biofuels. These subsidies will now be phased out over four years.
Sugar may continue to be added to wine during production, subject to conditions. The reform will start in August next year.