European wine: a better deal for all, 30th report of session 2006-07, Vol. 1: Report

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Stationery Office, Jul 23, 2007 - Business & Economics - 38 pages
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The European Union produces 60 per cent of the world's wine, with more than 80 per cent of this being produced in three Member States (France, Italy and Spain), and is also the world's largest exporter of wine. Although wine consumption is on the increase in some parts of the EU, including Britain, demand is falling within the Community as a whole, especially in those countries where most EU wine is produced. While exports of wine to non EU Member States have been steadily rising and are generally healthy, imports to the Community from so-called New World countries (in particular, the United States, Australia, South Africa and Chile) have been rising more sharply in recent years and are now almost on a level with exports. This, together with a succession of good wine harvests, has resulted, in four out of the last six years, in a significant surplus of wine produced in the EU. This interim report sets out emerging conclusions from the Committee's inquiry into the EU wine sector and the European Commission's proposals for its reform. Although some reservations are noted, the report broadly supports the Commission's proposals, including in relation to ending all subsidies for distillation and its associated storage, relaxing regulations on wine labelling, and the inclusion of vine-growing areas within the ambit of the Single Farm Payment and its rules regarding cross-compliance. However, the report criticises some aspects of the reform proposals, including in relation to: extending the planting ban beyond 2010, and the requirement on producers to use grape must rather than sucrose in wine-making.

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