COMMENT: EU rosé wine u-turn
The EU has seen common sense by performing a u-turn on a plan to allow winemakers to blend red and white wines to make rosé.
Faced with a French-led blockade, European agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel today took the rare step of surrendering a Commission proposal. After "listening to the good arguments" from the wine sector, she said that a ban on rosé wine being made by blending red and whites together will, afterall, be upheld.
Given that the EU's stated aim of reforming the bloc's wine sector is to reduce the amount of substandard wine flowing out of its vineyards, the Commission's proposal for rosé looked slightly bizarre.
That is not to say that this article ties itself with the numerous ultra-traditionalists littered across the EU wine sector, and concentrated particularly heavily in France, Spain and Italy.
It has been clear for some time that EU winemakers have needed greater flexibility to compete effectively with those beyond Europe, from Napa to the Murray-Darling.
But, in this case, France got it right. It has been noticeable, too, that the rosé proposal irked numerous modernising voices in the industry, such as Xavier de Eizaguirre, managing director of Baron Philippe de Rothschild and chairman of Vinexpo.
Today's decision is a victory for quality.
With tough market conditions at home and a strong euro hampering exports, Chris Losh believes European wine producers need policymakers to make bold decisions rather than resisting or fudging changes ...
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