The EU’s response to competitive pressure is simple. It surrenders.
Europe’s wine lake will be drained and millions of its vines uprooted in an effort to tackle the onslaught from producers in the New World, under plans unveiled on Wednesday by Brussels.
Mariann Fischer Boel, the farm commissioner, said sweeping reforms would put European wine “back … on top of the world” by driving out the worst quality table wines.
The European Union still produces and consumes more than two-thirds of the world’s wine. But imports from Australia, the US, Chile and others have displaced traditional winemakers, especially in the budget range.
While Britain has become the top importer, its drinkers opt for the well-marketed and dependable New World brands. Consumption in traditional producers such as Italy and France is slumping, unwanted wine being turned into industrial alcohol.
Instead of digging up the vines, why not try establishing trusted brands by producing products people like at affordable prices? OK, that’s hard work, but it’s not a US and Antipodean monopoly – the Chileans have done this fine
Anyway, now we know what the EU will do when Americans and Brits switch from BMW to Honda and Lexus.