European Union (EU) Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel has called for EU table wines to be labelled with their grape variety and vintage year, abolishing a restriction that reserves such information for appellation wines.

Speaking to the Intervitis Interfructa Conference, Stuttgart, Germany, yesterday (23 April), the commissioner said: "This rule only ties down the marketing efforts for some of our producers."

Under planned EU wine-market reforms, Fischer Boel also called for EU winemakers to use OIV (International Organisation of Wine and Vine)-approved wine-making methods. However, she accepted the Commission could retain the right to block certain practices for the EU and for member states regarding their own national wine sectors.

On the controversial issue of scrapping must aid, used widely in southern Europe to boost alcohol content, the commissioner signalled she backed a parallel scrapping of chaptalisation (adding sugar) in northern Europe.

Wine market reform entailed accepting "uncomfortable compromises", she warned.