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Published:  23 July, 2008

The EU is to hand out e450 million in subsidies to wine producers in a bid to improve wine quality. The subsidies, which are the highest since the EU began its mission to support better-quality wine in 1999, will be granted to producers who are willing to replace low-quality, high-yielding vines with higher-quality varieties. Producers in the 10 member states who joined in May this year will qualify for the subsidies for the first time, with Hungary getting e10 million, and Slovakia e2.9 million. The bulk of the cash, however, will go to Spain (e145 million); France (e107 million); and Italy (e103 million). The money will go to farmers to improve production methods and make better-quality wine,' said European Commission agriculture spokesperson, Gregor Kreuzhuber.