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Wine Glut/ Wine Lake?

I think the first sounds ominous but the second sounds kind of fun, sadly they mean the same. Turns out Europe is still producing too much wine. In fact so much wine that in the recent past some farmers have turned their precious wine into petrol for the pumps. At the end of this month EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel is set to announce 4 new sweeping measures to help shake up the European wine industries wine woes and hopefully set up a defence against the the challenges that are arising from young wine superstars such as Chile, Australia and the US, who are offering good wine at low prices. Traditionally wine has always been a European product, but as any good wine lover knows there is a lot of great wine being made outside of Europe.

The crux of the problem is that production has to drop and quality has to rise. Too many vines throughout the continent have led to recent subsidies for brandy production getting out of hand. Wine makers figure if they can get money for wine or for the brandy that is distilled from it they might as well keep producing it. The problem is that this has led to gigantic subsidies(up to 1.2billion euros a year) in recent years to help prop up this emergency distillation.
It appears that Mariann is going to try to scrap this program in favor of paying grape growers to tear up vines and reduce production. In the long run this could be a good thing. In Spain alone there are huge areas of Aíren and other second rate grapes that if pulled up could allow in the future for smaller quantities of high quality grapes to be planted. Currently no new plantings can occur till 2010 unless a set of stringent measures are met. I think this will help some, but in the end unless they offer the farmers an alternative it’s going to be hard to get someone who’s family has grown grapes for generations to turn their back on tradition. Other crop suggestions will need to be made for a farmer to turn their back on the land that their family has worked.

Till soon,

Ryan Opaz

Source: Reuters