European wine producers have failed to take advantage of funding to promote their wines overseas, according to the EU commissioner for wine.
The European Commission has provided ‘national envelopes’ to each wine-producing member state to help fund measures including marketing, restructuring vineyards and green harvesting.
However, Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, told the Comité Européen des Entreprises Vin (CEEV) the uptake had been disappointing.
‘By the end of May this year, with more than half the financial year over, on average member states had spent only about 20% of their national envelopes. Some had spent nothing at all,’ she said.
The total ‘envelope’ budget for 2009 is €634m, which must be spent before 15 October.
If not, ‘it will simply disappear’, Fischer Boel said. ‘That would be a small tragedy for a sector which certainly needs to invest in the future.’
She called on the wine sector to devise projects to use the funding, in particular for promotional purposes, without further delay. ‘To those member states which haven’t yet got out of the starting-blocks, I say: Lace up your running shoes quickly and get going’
The call to action comes ahead of the European wine reform, which will be come into force on August 1. The reform includes a vine-grubbing scheme and the phasing out of distillation subsidies.
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Written by Rebecca Gibb