Around 2,100 hectares of vines in France have been uprooted under the EU-backed incentive scheme for 2004-05, which ends on 15 June.

This figure was given to decanter.com by Onivins, the body responsible for overseeing EU incentives for uprooting uneconomic vineyards in France.

According to Onivins, most of this year’s uprooting has taken place in the Pyrénées Orientales region (Roussillon). The other main regions affected are Bordeaux, Charentes and the ‘Pays Nantais’ (Muscadet and Gros Plant) – all regions which have suffered from overproduction and falling exports.

In February, Bordeaux’s wine trade body the CIVB set itself the objective of uprooting 10,000ha of the region’s uneconomic vines in the next 3 years.

In order to attract growers in less marketable appellations who are willing to uproot their uneconomic vines, it announced a government-backed financing scheme to double the EU subsidy rate.

The EU rate of €6,300 per hectare is considered by many in France to be too low to act as a real incentive.

The deadline for 2005/06 applications for the subsidy is 31 December 2005.

No applications have so far been received from wine growers in Languedoc, who complain that their region has borne much of the pain in the past. In the past 20 years, over 90,000ha of vines have been uprooted in Languedoc-Roussillon.

Estimates from regional wine producers’ bodies around France suggest applications for the subsidy scheme are likely to be substantially higher over the next 2-3 years.

Preliminary estimates for six wine regions (Bordeaux, Beaujolais, Pays Nantais, Côtes du Rhône, the Loire valley and Burgundy), published in Le Figaro last week, indicate that at least 18,4000ha of vines in France could be affected.

Other regional bodies have added local subsidies to increase the incentive.

Written by Rupert Joy