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CAP Reform: Final stage of EU wine reform enters into force

02 August 2009
by eub2 -- last modified 02 August 2009

The final stage of the European Union wine reform, agreed by agriculture ministers in December 2007, entered into force on 1st August. The wide-ranging reform, the first stage of which applied from 1st August last year, should bring balance to the wine market, phase out wasteful and expensive market intervention measures and allow the budget to be used for more positive, proactive measures which will boost the competitiveness of European wines. The reform provides for a fast restructuring of the wine sector. It includes a voluntary, three-year grubbing-up scheme to provide an alternative for uncompetitive producers and to remove surplus wine from the market. Subsidies for crisis distillation and potable alcohol distillation will be phased out and the money, allocated in national envelopes, can be used for measures like wine promotion on third country markets, restructuring and investment in modernisation of vineyards and cellars. The reform will contribute to environmental protection in wine-growing regions, safeguard traditional and well-established quality policies and simplify labelling rules, for the benefit of producers and consumers alike. The restrictive planting rights system will also be abolished at EU level from 1 January 2016 onwards, with the possibility for EU Member States to keep it until December 2018 if they so wish.


This second phase of the reform includes three sets of rules concerning

* protected designations of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indications (PGI), traditional terms, labelling and presentation of wine
* wine-making practices and
* the vineyard register, compulsory declarations and the gathering of information to monitor the wine market, the documents accompanying consignments of wine products and the wine sector registers to be kept;

The new labelling and presentation rules will improve communication with the consumer. On PDO/PGI and traditional terms, the Regulation establishes the rules for their protection. It also includes the procedures for the examination of the applications for protection, for objections and their cancellation or modification. The legislation ensures that well-established national quality policies are safeguarded. Also, certain traditional terms and bottle shapes can continue to be protected. The indication of the vintage year and vine grape varieties will now be possible for wines without PDO/PGI.

The Regulation adopted on wine-making practices ensures the best traditions of Community wine-making are preserved while creating an opening to innovation.

The procedure for adopting new oenological practices and modifying existing techniques has been made more flexible. The Commission has now assumed responsibility from the Council for evaluating the list of oenological practices approved by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), except on enrichment and acidification, and it will add these practices to the list of EU approved techniques where necessary.

The first phase of the wine reform has already been implemented. It concerns national support programmes using national financial envelopes, trade with third countries, production potential including a grubbing-up scheme and controls in the wine sector.

Funds foreseen in the national envelopes for 2009 and not paid out by 15 October will be lost. So far only 30% of the funds available for this year have been paid out. European funds are allocated to each EU producer country, to enable the financing of measures responding to local needs. Member States may chose from the following measures:

* single payment scheme (direct payments to producers), promotion on third-country markets, green harvesting, mutual funds, harvest insurance and investments; restructuring and conversion of vineyards, by-product distillation, potable alcohol distillation, crisis distillation and aid for the use of concentrated grape must. Support for potable alcohol distillation, crisis distillation and for the use of concentrated grape may be granted from the national envelopes until 31 July 2012 at the latest.

The budget available for the support measures increases from year to year, starting at 794 million euros in 2009 and rising to 1.231 billion euros in 2013.

A voluntary grubbing-up scheme is spread over three years and comprises an indicative total area of 175,000 hectares. The financial allocations for the grubbing-up measure for 2009 to 2011 are 464 million, 334 million and 276 million euros, respectively. Because of over-subscription, this year priority has been given above all to those producers who grub up their entire vineyard and then those who are more than 55 years old.

Reform of the EU wine market

Source: European Commission

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