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EU attacks loss making winemakers

Published:  23 July, 2008

The EU yesterday proposed that 200,000 hectares of vineyards be grubbed up across Europe.

An area larger than London and Glasgow combined is to be removed in order to make European winemakers more competitive.

European commissioner for agriculture, Mariann Fischer Boel, said, "the first step is to restore the link between supply and demand".

Producers that are deemed uncompetitive will be given funds to leave the sector, up to 7,000 per hectare to remove vines, decreasing to 3,000 by the fifth year.

The annual 1.3 billion budget will also be reallocated into marketing European wine better. No funds will be forthcoming any longer for distilling surplus wine.

Chaptalisation using the process of adding sugar to wine, is to be banned.

Designation of origin rules are also to be changed to allow wine to retain the name of where the grapes for the product were grown, regardless of where it is blended.

If passed by the European Parliament, the regulations will come into effect next year.