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EU's farm chief to unveil ambitious wine shake-up  Add/Read Comments

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Europe's wine industry, the world's largest, should see sweeping changes over the next few years as producers are offered cash incentives to dig up vines and so drain the EU's surplus wine lake. Keen to fend off tough competition from New World exporters like Chile and Australia, Europe's farm chief plans to divert some of the subsidies paid to EU winemakers to get them to abandon vines and focus on quality.

"The debate will begin next week when EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel publishes four broad options to shake up the industry, which was last reformed in 1999. Her comments in recent months have made her thinking clear: many of the existing subsidies should be scrapped or simplified, and production must fall. That won't go down well with some governments, particularly the main wine countries of southern Europe like France, Spain and Italy, also the world's top three producers.

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