The EU is spending billions of euros to reform the blocs wine sector

The EU is spending billions of euros to reform the bloc's wine sector

The European Commission will extend funding for winemakers who wish to grub up their vines as it seeks to rebalance supply and demand in the EU's wine sector.

Subsidies for grubbing up vines will continue up to 2015, European Commission officials informed the French Government this week. The original deadline was to have been 2013.

France raised the issue after becoming concerned about its ability to manage an expected rush of applications from winemakers seeking to beat the deadline, French Government agency FranceAgriMer said today (17 December).

Grubbing up vines is a central pillar of the European Commission's attempt to drain a surplus of average quality wine in the EU. In autumn 2009, it initiated a three-year scheme that called for winemakers to voluntarily grub up a collective 175,000 hectares of vines in return for compensation.
 
In 2010, the EU's 27 member states have spent around EUR1bn (US$1.3bn) of EU funds on a range of wine measures, from grubbing up to marketing. The European Commission hands funding to individual member states based on the size of their wine industries.

In a five-year plan drawn up in 2008, Italy and Spain were promised around EUR1.5bn and France EUR1.2bn of EU funding.