Brussels, 15 September 2020
EFOW, the European Federation of Origin Wines, which brings together the Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese wine appellations, launched a solemn appeal to the Ministers of Agriculture of the major wine-producing countries to unite to safeguard the vine planting authorisation mechanism. EFOW members call on them to build a common platform on this issue as it was the case during the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 2013. EFOW also called on the German Council Presidency to put the issue on the agenda for the mid-October agreement on a general approach.
Although the end date of the scheme is set for 2030, a decision on its future within the framework of the current CAP reform is urgently needed. Vines are perennial plants which require long-term planning, investment and management. A new vine planted will start to produce wine after 5/6 years, so a vine planted in 2024 will not produce wine until 2030/31. It is imperative that the future CAP regulation defines the framework within which winegrowers will operate from 2031 onwards.
This framework, which has no budgetary cost, contributes to preventing crises of overproduction and a decline in quality. It also helps to maintain vineyards in difficult areas – vines, particularly those intended for the production of appellation wines, are often planted in areas where no other crops can grow – and allows the development of small family farms.
EFOW’s president, Mr. Bernard Farges, explains that “during the last CAP reform, thanks to the support of the European Parliament, wine producing Member States and Commissioner Dacian Cioloș, the sector saw the introduction of an innovative and dynamic tool for an adapted and sustainable growth of the European vineyard. It is in fact a tailor-made tool since each Member State and each wine-growing region can manage its growth according to its needs “. He adds “the US retaliatory duties on many European appellation wines and the COVID-19 crisis are clear examples of how the European wine market, which was relatively in good health, can be rapidly destabilised. In particular, COVID-19 highlighted the need for operators to have a wide range of tools at their disposal to deal with crises. It is now crucial to continue to benefit from this regulatory tool; the sector needs this clear signal to help in the recovery process”.
Mr Farges concludes “the vine planting authorisation scheme can contribute to the ambition of the Green Deal as a tool for sustainable development. It has enabled winegrowers to seek social, economic and environmental sustainability. Without this regime, there will be serious risks of wastage of resources due to overproduction and rural desertification – abandonment of difficult and remote areas in favour of high production areas (from slopes to valleys) – price volatility, uncertain income and therefore less investment in our sector”.