The UK has welcomed this week's update of the European Common Agricultural Policy wine regime.

EU Ministers said on Wednesday (19 December) that the regime, which includes both fiscal support for the wine sector and rules on the production and labelling of wine in Europe, will phase out restrictions on vineyard planting and the disposal of surplus wine. The UK, however, will be exempt from the agreed changes, due to its small contribution to the region's wine production.

Defra Minister Jonathan Shaw said: "This is good news for UK consumers and producers. Our producers will remain exempt from the most bureaucratic and restrictive parts of the regime, whilst consumers will benefit from clearer, simpler labelling of EU wines.

Shaw added: "It (the reform) will rid the wine regime of its worst features, which discouraged innovation and encouraged surplus production that was disposed of at the European taxpayer's expense."