istock_000006099157xsmallThe common organisation of the wine market – Regulation (EC) n°479/2008 (see more) which has been integrated into the Single CMO (Reg. (EC) n°1234/2009) – is one of the largest and most complex common market organisations (CMO) in the common agricultural policy (CAP).

It covers not only market regulation instruments and trade-related issues but also contains detailed and wine specific provisions on the production, processing, labelling, packaging, transport and promotion of wine products.

The wine CMO divides wine into two main categories:

  • Table wines
  • Quality origin wines: Protected Designations of Origin (PDOs) and Protected Geographical Indications (PGIs)

The system used to define wines of designated origin is based on:

  • A product specification: each origin wine has its own regulation which specifies the wine-production methods, the wine-making, chemical and organoleptic characteristics of the wine, as well as packaging and/or labelling requirements, if any.
  • A strict control system: only wines that fulfill the conditions set out in the requirements specification can used the PDO or PGI label. As a result, Origin wines are subject to regular checks carried out on an ongoing basis by independent bodies. The checks cover both on the conditions set out in the product specification and chemical and organoleptic analysis.

The wine CMO includes a framework for the management of wine-growing potential (planting rights)

  • Restrictions on the planting of new vines until 2015 (or 2018 if decided by a Member State) with distributed permission for replanting rights
  • Support for the restructuring and conversion of vineyards, notably to improve the quality of the wines and for greater control over production

The wine OCM provides a very strict regulation for:

  • Wine production and distribution. For example, winemaking from imported grape is prohibited, as is mixing wine from non-EU countries with community wine
  • Wine-making practices: the regulation contains a list of oenological practices which are permitted in the EU for the purposes of producing wine
  • Labelling, particularly with respect to the use of language and so-called optional information (eg. the vintage, the name of one or more grape varieties, awards)
  • Registration and protection of origin wines (PGOs or PGIs) as well as traditional terms (eg: château, brunello)
  • The system governing the exchange of wine with non-EU countries
  • The role of producers organisations and inter-branch organisations

The wine CMO defines the scope and actions to be conducted through national support programmes, such as:

  • Promotion and marketing of EU wines in third countries
  • Investments to restructure and convert wine activities and improve the economic performance of the enterprises
  • Support for byproduct distillation, potable alcohol distillation, crisis distillation and/or the use of concentrated grape must
  • Preventive instruments such as harvest insurance, mutual funds and green harvesting