EU winemakers have attacked European Commission proposals to reform the EU wine market with plans to grub up more vineyards.

The Commission wants to grub up 400,000 hectares of EU vineyards due to over-production and poor sales. Participants at a European Parliament hearing late last week agreed the EU wine market needed change but claimed the EU should act to increase demand, not slash production.

Patrick Agrain, representing French wine and agriculture group VINIFLHOR, said: "Our problem is not that we are producing too much, but that we are selling too little. The main factor of our difficulties is the import/export balance."

João Vieira, from the Portuguese Confederação Nacional da Agricultura, called Commission proposals "a threat to the European wine industry".

However, the Commission's agriculture deputy director-general Lars Hoelgaard argued that the offer of subsidised grubbing up offered winemakers the chance to leave the market before major liberalisation.