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Protectionist EU wine regions lobby to stop reform

Wine grower associations from 15 EU member states will gather in Brussells today to lobby against a European Commission reform that would increase vineyard plantings. Growers are now close to the required majority that would block the Commission’s reform. To date, 15 out of 27 EU countries – including France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Portugal – have registered their disagreement and formally asked the European Commission to reconsider. The reform is due to be put in place from January 2016.

Groups representing vineyard growers say that the Commission reform will lead to ‘catastrophic results’ for the historical and cultural nature of Europe’s vineyards. They cited Alsace wines as an example. ‘This small 15,600 ha vineyard has 5,000 producers and employs 20,000 people. These hillside vines form a quintessential part of one of the world’s most beautiful wine landscapes. Around 7m people visit Alsace every year, 85% of whom come to explore the wine routes,’ it says.