Thursday, May 31, 2007

EU Wine Reforms, Update

The European Union is expected to scale back its proposed reforms for its ailing wine industry, reducing the number of vineyards to be ripped out and signaling a willingness to compromise on its intended ban on chaptalization.

The proposed ban on chaptalization has run into fierce criticism from major northern European countries, with Austria and Germany already on the record as being opposed. According to one diplomat, the proposed ban will likely be used mainly as a bargaining chip and will not be a "deal-breaker."

The practice is already banned in Mediterranean countries such as Italy, Spain, and Portugal but remains commonplace in France and other traditional wine making nations. EU agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel had hoped to supplant the traditional enrichment of wine with sucrose with the more expensive practice of adding concentrated grape must as a means of reducing the sucrose surplus. With chaptalization banned, it would be easier for Fischer Boel to push through her proposed reforms of the sugar industry, including reduced quotas and subsidies.

A European Commission spokesperson also announced that the proposed 400,000 hectacres of vines targeted for its "grubbing up" scheme will be reduced to 200,000ha. Instead, the EU plans to shift its efforts toward increased marketing.

The EU faces a real crisis in its wine industry, with a reported 1.5 billion liter "wine lake" of surplus. Once again, Brussels has proven itself to be a model of efficiency.

1 comment:

William said...

I'm pretty sure you just found the solution right there. 1.5 BILLION LITER WINE LAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!