Wine economics

Saturday, June 24, 2006

EU Commissions reforms EU wine policy

The EU Commission today announced in its Agricultural News Digest a profound "roots-and-branch" reform of the EU wine policy.

The Digest explained:

"The Commission considers four options for reform, and comes out clearly in favour of a radical reform model specific to the wine sector. This would involve either a one-step or a two-step approach. The two-step approach would begin with measures to bring supply and demand back into balance before focusing on improving competitiveness, including the abolition of the system of planting rights. Producers would be offered generous incentives to grub up uneconomic vineyards, outdated market support measures such as distillation would be abolished and the systems of labelling and wine-making practices would be updated and simplified. Money would be redirected towards Rural Development measures tailor-made for the wine sector and Member States would receive a national financial envelope to pay for measures decided at national level. Under the "one-step" variant, the system of planting rights restrictions would be either allowed to expire on 1 August 2010, or be abolished immediately, and the current grubbing-up scheme would also be abolished at the same time.

After an in-depth debate on its ideas, the Commission plans to table legislative proposals in December 2006 or January 2007."

The Digest points at two EU websites. "Reform of the wine sector" breifly describes the principls for the new policy and the site contains mainy useful links to EU website concerned with wine policy. "Background information on the wine sector" provides just that.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Golan Heights Wine

The Decanter has a curious story to tell about how wine and politics can get entangled. The story is about Golan Heights wine. The Swedes, who are not generally known to be very discriminating consumers of all things alcoholic, turn themselves into knots over the question whether Golan Heights wine is from Israel - that is what the Israelis think - or from Syria - that is what the UN thinks.

My Israeli friends tell me that the Golan Heights produce very good wine. If it is really good it probably should be best kept out of Swdeish gullets. And those who appreciate the experience of different terroirs usually are not much concerned about which government collects the taxes imposed on the wine.