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New EU wine rules now in force

A new dawn has arrived in the European wine industry with the introduction of the European Union’s new wine regulations.

The much haggled-over rules, which came into effect on 1 August, have been introduced in an effort to modernise and improve the competitiveness of the European trade in light of the growing popularity and influence of the New World.

A key element of the new rules concerns labelling, with all wines, including those currently ageing, now able to state the grape variety and vintage on the label. Under the new regulations, the French AOC becomes AOP (Appellation d’Origin Protegée) and the equivalent of vin de pays wines will henceforth be referred to as IGPs (Indication Geographique Protegée).

The rules also introduce a voluntary three-year grubbing up scheme, which gives unprofitable producers the opportunity to dig up their vineyards and leave the industry. Additionally, subsidies for crisis distillation will be phased out in a further effort to cut down on overproduction.

The money that would previously have been used to fund distillation subsidies will now be put towards marketing and modernising operations across the European industry.

Mariann Fischer Boel, European commissioner for agriculture and rural development, said: “Member States and producers have a great opportunity to make the best use of the new wine regime to build on Europe’s international reputation for excellence.

“I truly believe this marks a turning point in our wine sector’s history.”

Alan Lodge, 05.08.2009 

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