The European Committee of Wine Companies (CEEV) is calling on the EU’s “political arena” to legislate and protect the EU wine sector amidst challenging economic and environmental conditions.

CEEV has put forward six “priorities” in its manifesto for 2024. It is calling for the reinforcement of the EU single market by “harmonising” regulations. It is also seeking support for climate-change countermeasures and green-technology adoption.

The wine trade body wants EU governments to have an “ambitious EU trade strategy” that would expand the market’s access and protect wine products during trade disputes.

“Unpredictable extreme weather events, inflation, increased production costs, geopolitical uncertainty, demonisation of alcoholic beverages… the EU wine sector is facing a set of structural and conjunctural challenges that are putting in danger its long-term sustainability,” CEEV president Mauricio González-Gordon said.

The group is looking for a “pragmatic” EU health policy that differentiates between alcohol abuse and moderate wine consumption. This would involve a move away from the World Health Organisation’s data in favour of EU state data and a single health policy.

CEEV also wants policymakers to institute a market-oriented Common Agricultural Policy, or CAP. This is already somewhat covered by the 2008 wine Common Market Organisation (CMO). However, CEEV is arguing that a CAP would allow the sector to “adapt more easily” to competitive changes and would help foster investment into innovation.

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The CEEV said the wine sector accounts for three million direct jobs in the EU and has a “positive” fiscal impact of €52bn ($56bn).

“We need a coherent wine approach in the political arena to update laws and stand up against unfair attacks to our wine culture,” CEEV secretary general Ignacio Sánchez Recarte said.

“Only then can we ensure the enduring strength of the EU wine sector, and continue to deliver unparalleled diversity, heritage and excellence in every bottle.

“Our manifesto includes a set of concrete proposals to safeguard our rich heritage, promote sustainable growth, and secure a prosperous future for European wine”, he added.

Last year, the European Commission took “exceptional measures” to combat the current market imbalances within the EU wine sector by approving crisis distillation.

In order to tackle reduced consumption and high levels of stock, the EU will compensated vintners who engage in crisis distillation.