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European wine review is backed by UK winemakers

UK wine producers have given their backing to the European Commission’s draft reforms for the European wine sector following a recent meeting in Brussels. Under the new proposals there would be no limit on planting, nor on the amount of wine we can produce here. Currently, the ceiling is 25,000 hectolitres. Jeremy Beadles, Chief Executive of The Wine and Spirit Trade Association, told ThirtyFifty that, ‘We are still a long way short of that figure but from a free-trade perspective, it’s wrong, and it will become a barrier to trade.’ Opposition to the proposals, however, came from a number of Europe’s largest wine-producing countries, namely those who currently receive subsidies for their overproduction. Their objection is that part of the reform plan involves uprooting 400,000 hectares of vineyards to reduce the wine lake. But, as Jeremy Beadles, explained, ‘You always get this kind of reaction from countries that have subsidies on the line. What they have to realise is that there are generous payments available to help convert vineyards to other forms of agriculture.’