The European Union's (EU) wine management committee has recommended that the European Commission spend up to EUR131m (US$167.4m) on another round of compulsory distillation for French and Italian wine producers.

EU agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel branded the decision "depressing" - the Commission's oncoming wine reform proposals are expected to suggest phasing out such overproduction subsidies.

The committee - operating under unreformed EU rules - suggested for France, a maximum of 1.5m hectolitres of table wine and 1.5m hectolitres of quality wine be distilled, and for Italy, up to 2.5m hectolitres of table wine and 100,000 hectolitres of quality wine be turned into industrial alcohol.