Prominent representatives from the Spanish and Portuguese wine-growing sectors will be analyzing the problems that the reform has put forward, likewise proposing the lines of action
The reform of the current Common Organization of the Wine Market in the European Union started making headlines last year, as of the controversial initial proposal made by the Agricultural Commissioner, Mariann Fischer Boel. The starting point -restrictions imposed by the current regulations represent a burden for competitiveness in the sector- seems to be a fact that is jointly agreed on by all parts involved. However, this is nowhere near the case with the measures to be taken to change this reality and promote competitiveness of European wines. The calendar foresees that the new COM will be enforced in the year 2008, thus the debates and definitive negotiations, at all levels, will be taking place throughout the present year.
In this context few forums are as adequate as FENAVIN 2007 -Trade Fair that will be taking place in Ciudad Real on the dates of May 7th to the 10th - to really analyze this matter in depth. Thus the round table 'The COM of wine in Spain and Portugal', included in the Trade Fair's Program of Activities, which will count with the presence of distinguished representatives from the Spanish and Portuguese wine-growing industries and during which the main problems that this reform raise will be made manifest. The proposal of solutions is framed within the existing contrast between the current situations in both countries.
Manuel López Alejandre, Secretary General of the Conference of Wine-growing Regulation Boards of Spain, will be acting as the moderator. On theother hand, and representing Portugal, we will have his counterpart Joaquim Madeira, President of ANDOVI, National Association of Denominations of Origin for Wines in the neighboring country. Manuel López Benítez, Full Professor of Administrative Law at the University of Cordoba and reputed expert in viniculture regulations and classification, will be another of the participants in the round table. Participation of a representative from the regional administration is also foreseen.
The round table will analyze the generalized dissatisfaction - although due to very different causes - to be found amongst the European Union's important producer countries, the Commission's proposal to uproot 400,000 hectares of vineyard and its possible consequences. Other issues subject to discussion will be the possibilities of adopting playing rules that are similar to those of the so-called 'emerging producer countries', gradual liberalization of planting rights or the measures to be established with regards to distillation of surplus wine.
Presence of an outstanding representative from the Portuguese industry will also give rise to an interesting comparative exercise. Unlike Spain, Portugal maintains high wine consumption levels (one of the highest in Europe), practically conserving all their hectares dedicated to the vineyard absolutely intact. Likewise the country invests far more resources in promoting their denominations of origin -with port wine as the driving force-, developing an enviable eno-tourist activity. All of this decisively contributes to promoting the culture of wine and, therefore, its consumption. Could these approaches be applied to the Spanish wine-growing sector?