European Reform for the Wine Market
Staff Writer – July 5, 2007
Mariann Fischer Boel, the European agriculture commissioner, kept her word and proposed an incisive reform affecting the wine market. The proposal includes important simplifications and, finally, pays attention to the current state of the market, introducing new promotional measures.
The above statement may suggest that all aspects of the proposed reform are positive, however representative of the Italian wine sector feels that there's more to be considered with regards to the impact that the proposed changes will have in the Italian and European vitiviniculture.
In fact, as the initiative affects the market place, the Italian wine entrepreneurs associated with the Confederazione Italiana della Vite e del Vino (Italian Confederation of Vines and Wine), which is the political arm of the Unione Italiana Vini (Italian Wine Union), expressed moderate satisfaction for the proposed changes, which include brave choices, such as the ban on the use of added sugar in wine making.
"At the same time, though," explained the president of the Confederation, Andrea Sartori, "we do not agree with the idea of adding types of grapes and vintages on the labels of table wines. In addition we would like to highlight the delicate matter of liberalizing production plant structures, which need to be 'guided' in order to avoid market perturbation. With regards to the new Denomination of Origin, there's the absolute need to avoid the risk of dismantling European settings which have 200 years of history and are an essential part of our culture."
The funds alone made available for promotion, which have the backing of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, lead by Minister De Castro, will not be enough to counter the difficulties met on national markets, nor the growing competition on international markets, faced by European wine entrepreneurs.
"It is essential to take the opportunity offered by the proposed reform to candidly analyze the Italian wine scene," declared the Federvini president, Piero Mastroberardino. "We must not be afraid of liberalizations and simplifications which face us, instead we must proceed toward a communication path, following common evaluations of the production system, dedicating more attention than ever to consumers' expectations."
The first step in that direction was made right after the meeting about the General State of Wine. Now it is time to continue along the same road, with the determination to set team efforts in motion. This means promoting initiatives which enable the whole Italian vitiviniculture to confirm its leading role which local and international consumers have repeatedly shown to expect.
"Certainly the main aspect of the reform appears to be the strategic choice to eliminate the use of sugar components," concluded Mastroberardino. "This is a factor which definitely played an important part in distinguishing different enological realities in recent years."
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