The EU’s wine policy has played a key role in the sector’s transition towards increased competitiveness, innovation and quality. This is among the key findings of the ‘Evaluation of the CAP measures applicable to the wine sector’, published today by the European Commission.
The EU is the world’s leading producer, consumer and exporter of wine. Wine EU consumption has been declining since 2008 but growing opportunities on the global market has led to maintaining the EU market balance. Regarding EU wine consumption, demand is increasing for quality wines with a geographical indication protection, rosé and sparkling wines, and wines produced using environmentally friendly practices. The demand for varietal wine products (wine primarily made from one grape variety) is also growing in the EU, as well as for wines with lower alcohol.
The 2013 wine policy reform’s objective was to make EU wine producers more competitive while preserving authenticity and traditions of European wine growing and boosting its social and environmental role in rural areas. According to the evaluation, by harmonising, streamlining and simplifying the relevant rules, EU producers managed to increase production, within certain limits enabled by the authorisation scheme for vine planting. In addition, it has encouraged the use of new technologies and the developments of new products.
The evaluation also concludes that, at international level, EU rules on winemaking (oenological) practices help maintain the reputation and tradition of EU wine by ensuring quality and safety as well as improving marketing conditions. At EU level, they have helped recognise specific local conditions as well as being relevant for the competitiveness of EU wine producers by encouraging a greater diversity of products.
Furthermore, according to the evaluation, harmonised EU labelling rules provide overall added value at EU level by ensuring fair competition for operators in the sector, by facilitating trade and providing clear information to EU consumers. The evaluation also highlights certain rules that could improve the achievement of EU priorities on preserving biodiversity, ensuring environmental sustainability and further reducing pesticide use. Overall, the EU’s wine policy is fully consistent with EU economic, social and CAP objectives.
The evaluation found that CAP’s national support programmes for wine have also contributed to increase EU wine producers’ competitiveness and responded to the needs of the sector. They offer a range of tools that can be adapted to the different levels of the EU supply chain. For example, they include measures such as support for restructuring and conversion of vineyards, support for investments and promotion measures. In addition, they are generally consistent with the EU’s environmental objectives.
Finally, the evaluation highlights that EU wine policy has accelerated the modernisation of the sector and ensured its viability and international competitiveness, although the policy shows its limitations regarding more recent developments, notably to adapt to market demand for lower alcohol wines and sustainable products.. Nevertheless, without EU funds, the adaptation of the sector to market demand would have been slower and might have left smaller producers behind. In some Member States, the EU framework has also introduced a strategic approach and long-term planning in the management of the sector.
The evaluation report is the result of an overall evaluation process on the CAP measures applicable to the wine sector. Leading to this report, the European Commission ran a public consultation on the topic in 2019 and published an external evaluation support study.
26 October 2020