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Mas calls for EU subsidy shake-up

Published:  23 July, 2008

Languedoc producer Jean-Claude Mas has called on the EU to end its policy of subsidising winemakers.

Mas, who made the remarks at a Christmas tasting for the retailer Aldi, which stocks Mas's Ile La Forge range, said: Subsidies have created too much production and not enough sales. Let us do what we want to do. We need fewer laws and more freedom of enterprise.'

Mas calculated that in the Languedoc, there is a net loss of 200 million a year, adding that the region produces about 15 million hectolitres (hl), at a bulk market price of 40/hl. The total production costs, he said, work out at 85/hl.

He added: The basic producer is losing around 40 per hectolitre. Multiply that figure by 15 million, and look what you have. If there is not a rebalance of the supply and demand, someone is going to have to finance that.'

And of the topic of EU reform, which could see vast areas of French vineyard grubbed up, Mas said: Obviously, there are too many wines. It will have a social impact and an economic impact, and that has to be carefully handled.

All my friends say that we should be digging up, but none of them is doing it. Digging up vines is like sending your children away, you know?'