EU countries are becoming increasingly more aware of the need to dig up vines to drain Europe's "wine lakes" ending years of surplus.

A five year scheme, beginning in August 2008, winemakers will be encouraged to start grubbing up in an effort to mop up the current wine surplus by 2013.

Speaking yesterday (22 May), Portugal's Agriculture Minister Jaime Silva said: "We shouldn't be too dogmatic about the concept of grubbing up. We already have restructuring measures in place anyway."

A previous draft plan by EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boehl had winemakers apprehensive when it called for removing 400,000 hectares of the EU's 3.4m hectares under vines.

After intensive lobbying this figure was brought down to 200,000 hectares.
Silver said: "When they talked about 400,000 hectares, I really wasn't keen. There are vines of bad quality and we need to find a solution."