The scale of bids to permanently dig up vineyards under the first year of the grubbing-up scheme set up under the wine reform has surprised the Commission. They have been obliged to reduce each application by 54.1 per cent as a result. Bids across the EU for just under 160,000 hectares have been reduced to just over 73,000. The total budget for the first year of the grubbing up scheme was €464m.
The applications cover 4.2 per cent of the European Union wine area. but as mich as 12.7 per cent in Cyprus and 8.9 per cent in Spain. These countries perhaps have relatively high proportions of lower quality wines while Cyprus is a recent entrant to the EU and will have not been able to take advantage of earlier schemes. 91 per cent of the funds have been allocated to Spain, Italy and France.
Europe continues to face a challenge from the new wine producers of Australia, Chile, New Zealand and South Africa, particularly in relation to medium quality 'drinkable' wines.