Sunday, 19 April 2015

19.4.15 Potential EU Funding Cut Worries Jerez

Fedejerez flatly rejects the amendment to the funding of wine promotion abroad which will be put to the vote on the 27th of this month at the European Parliament. The amendment involves the strategy concerning EU alcohol, questioning the use of public funds to promote the consumption of alcohol in third countries. The beer and spirits industries also face this problem, and have joined the wine industry to present a common front.

The possibility of these European funds being spent elsewhere poses a major risk to Jerez, where many bodegas have enjoyed this important source of income to promote their wines outside Europe, mainly in strategic markets such as the USA or Japan. Despite the funding plan officially being in place till 2020, it could now disappear in 2018.

Fedejerez admits that the trade is nervous about the forthcoming vote and they are allying with the Federación Española de Vino (FEV). The latter is warning that this amendment puts at risk funding not only for the campaign for moderate consumption of wine but also for its promotion in third countries and the support plan for the wine producing sector. Further, the FEV says it will marginalise and demonise wine as a product which is so important as an EU export.

“Quien sabe beber, sabe vivir” was the slogan for the prominent campaign set up in 2012 for moderate wine drinking, to which the Consejo, Jerez Council and Fedejerez were all subscribed. Now it might disappear and there might be considerable harm to the wine producing culture and the agricultural industry and jobs which lie behind it.

But there is yet more to the amendment. It also proposes to revise the rules on labelling to include nutritional advice and a warning as to the poisonous nature of alcohol. The FEV is asking the Euro deputies to vote against this measure which directly attacks the specificity of wine. The Spanish delegation in Brussels is drumming up support for a “no” vote, insisting that products like wine form a part of the much admired Mediterranean diet, and if consumed moderately are beneficial to the health.

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