The European Union is the world-leading producer of wine. Between 2016 and 2020, the average annual production was 165 million hectolitres. In 2020, it accounted for 45% of global wine-growing areas, 64% of production and 48% of consumption. Wine is the largest EU agri-food sector in terms of exports (7.6% of agri-food value exported in 2020).
Since the first common market organisation (CMO) in 1962, the wine market has developed considerably. The latest wine reform adopted in 2008, revised and included in the 2013 single CMO envisaged the following three goals:
- making EU wine producers even more competitive – enhancing the reputation of European wines and regaining market share both in the EU and outside;
- making the market-management rules simpler, clearer and more effective – to achieve a better balance between supply and demand;
- preserving the best traditions of European wine growing and boosting its social and environmental role in rural areas.
In addition to its general goals to harmonise, streamline and simplify the legislation, Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/273 replaced the planting rights regime in 2015 by a scheme of authorisations for vine planting during the period between 2016 and 2030, enabling competitive producers to increase production within certain limits. Regulation (EU) 2021/2117 extended the application of the authorisations scheme until 2045, with two mid-term reviews to be undertaken by the Commission in 2028 and 2040 to evaluate the operation of the scheme and, if appropriate, make proposals.
EU wine market reforms
The EU wine market organisation started out very open, with no curbs on plantings and very few market regulation instruments, the aim being to confront the annual variations in production. It later restrained freedom on plantings, coupling it with the virtually guaranteed sales, thus generating serious structural surplus.
The reform adopted by the EU aimed at harmonising, streamlining and simplifying the provisions of the CAP adopted in the course of the previous reforms
The reform adopted by the EU included goals of improving competitiveness and enhancing EU wine reputation, the simplification of market management rules, and preserving the best tradition of EU wine growing, boosting its social and environmental role in rural areas
Reform strengthened the goal of achieving a better balance between supply and demand, allowing producers to bring production into line with a market demanding higher quality, and improved competitiveness in the long term – especially in the face of increased global competition following international trade agreement negotiations – by financing the restructuring of a large part of present vineyards
Towards the end of the 1980's financial incentives for giving up vineyards were reinforced with the objective of reducing production
The market organisation became very interventionist with the ban on planting and the obligation to distil the surplus
The first common market organisation (CMO)
Wine support programmes
The wine support programmes introduced under the 2008 wine CMO reform included initially 13 measures. The 2013 CMO reform put an end to support for potable alcohol distillation, crisis distillation and enrichment by use of concentrated must.
In compensation, it introduced as a new measure innovation in the wine sector aiming at the development of new products, processes and technologies concerning the wine products. Furthermore, it expands promotion measures in EU countries, with a view to informing consumers about the responsible consumption of wine and about the EU systems covering designations of origin and geographical indications.
It also extended the restructuring and conversion of vineyards to replanting of vineyards where it is necessary following mandatory grubbing up for health or phytosanitary reasons.
Wine-producing EU countries may currently offer support for the following measures:
- promotion in non-EU countries,
- informing consumers about the responsible consumption and EU quality schemes,
- restructuring and conversion of vineyards including replanting for health or phytosanitary reasons,
- green harvesting,
- mutual funds,
- harvest insurance,
- investments in enterprises,
- innovation aiming at the development of new products, processes and technologies,
- by-product distillation.
The yearly allocations from the EU budget are fixed by EU country, taking into account the transfer for some EU countries to the single payment scheme.
Vine planting authorisations
Vine planting authorisations have been applicable since the start of 2016. They allow EU countries to manage the system of free, non-transferable planting authorisations at national level.
The rules also outline the safeguard mechanism for new plantings: authorisations are limited to a maximum of 1% growth in an EU country’s vine surface per year, with the option for countries to apply – where properly justified – growth limits at national or regional level, or for areas with/without designation of origin or geographical indication.
In cases where applications by wine growers exceed the area made available by the EU country, the allocation can be made pro rata and/or according to one or more priority criteria chosen by that country. Remaining planting rights from the previous regime can be converted into authorisations until 31 December 2022. After that date, an area corresponding to the remaining unconverted old planting rights may be made available by EU countries as additional planting authorisations.
In order to facilitate trade between the EU and non-EU countries, bilateral and multilateral negotiations are conducted by the European Commission on the basis of a European Council negotiation brief resulting in bilateral and free trade agreements.
Protected wine denominations
The eAmbrosia database consists of the register of designations of origin and geographical indications protected in the EU as well as lists of non-EU countries' geographical indications and names of origin protected in the EU in accordance with bilateral agreements on trade in wine.
The wine sector is regulated by a set of legislation composed by a basic regulation, delegated regulations, implementing regulations and supplemented by guidelines and legal interpretations.
Wine lists are tables containing:
- contact information of official bodies responsible and authorities in the wine sector;
- information on vineyards areas and register;
- vine varieties authorised for production and labelling.
Publication of these lists is required under the EU legislation and aimed at stakeholders inside and outside the EU.
The wine market observatory contains the latest market monitoring of production, stocks, trade, areas, and consumption. It also contains information on EU and national wine support programmes for analysis and evaluation.
Sectorial management committees have been replaced by one single management committee for the common organisation of agricultural markets.
Civil dialogue groups assist the European Commission and help to hold a regular dialogue with stakeholders on all matters relating to the common agricultural policy, including rural development, and its implementation.