European collective wine marketing systems are "insufficient and ill-suited to market requirements compared to those of wine-growing companies in the New World wine producing countries," according to European wine body.

The conclusion was drawn at a seminar last week (28 and 29 November) organised by COPA-COGECA, the association of European agricultural co-operative organisations and the CEV, Europe's association for the wine industry and trade.

Christina Rueda, head of the wine department at COPA/COGECA, later told that imported wine was not cheap but it was taking big shares of the European market because it was aggressively promoted. "But here in Europe we have lots of little family companies and our commercial structure hasn't modernised so quickly," she said.

There had to be more emphasis on the marketing of European wine through promotions, the development of innovative products and some means of monitoring the market so producers could know quickly what was happening in terms of consumer tastes, she said.