A possible reduction in the EU's grubbing up target of 400,000 hectares of vines, to 200,000, has been suggested by European Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel.

The suggestion came yesterday (2 May) in a working document expected to form part of Fischer Boel's final proposal on wine sector reform, originally put forward last June. The final proposal is due to be adopted by the Commission on 4 July, and then by the Council of Ministers at the end of July, for later approval as a regulation.

The working document reaffirms the aim of mopping up the current wine surplus by 2013. The grubbing up of 200,000 hectares of vines will reduce the surplus currently running at about 6m to 9m hectolitres - by about 7.5m hectolitres, the Commission hopes.