Revised reform proposals for the European wine sector are due to be adopted by the European Commission July 4th, with the target for pulling up of vines—or grubbing up, as it is known—reduced from 400,000 to 200,000 hectares (about 988,000 to 494,000 acres).
The reforms, originally proposed June 2006 by European Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel, are aimed at mopping up the current European wine surplus by 2013.
The Commission hopes the grubbing up of 200,000 hectares of vines will reduce the surplus—currently running at about six to nine million hectoliters—by about 7.5 million hectoliters.
The final reform proposals, which have now been debated both by the European Parliament and by professionals from the European wine industry, will also include dramatic reductions of subsidies currently paid to wine growers, grants to those who wish to leave the industry, and a large scale 120 million Euro promotional campaign for European wine to help increase exports.
Mariann Fischer Boel, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development at a press conference on the EU wine reform. Copyright European Commission, 2006.
Announcing the promotional campaign earlier May 20, Fischer Boel said she believed that European wine was excellent, but that it needed to do better as an export. The promotional campaign will be staged in countries outside of Europe.
So-called “envelopes” of EU money will also be given to the governments principally concerned by the reforms—Spain, France and Italy—to use to restructure the wine sector as they see fit.
Once the final reform proposals are adopted by the European Commission, they will be presented to the Council of 27 Agriculture Ministers at the end of July, for approval later this year as a European regulation, a process that turns the final proposals into EU law.