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€1mln EU subsidy to winegrowers

EU authorities have said they will award about €1mln in subsidies to
cover some of the costs of distilling 500,000 hectolitres of unwanted wine, about one-sixth of this year's harvest, business daily Világgazdaság reported. Hungary's winegrowers will receive €2.3 per hectoliter for 100,000 hectolitres of quality wine and €1.914 per hectoliter for 400,000 hectolitres of table wine. Most of the wine will come from the Kunság region in Central Hungary. The winegrowers applied for the subsidies in June, but approval was delayed after Brussels insisted that Hungary's Agriculture Ministry show it is taking sufficient steps to prevent adulterated wine from coming on the market. Hungary's Farming Minister József Gráf said in August that the state would take more stringent measures to ensure adulterated wine does not enter the market. He added that the authorities would also gradually remove 800,000 hectolitres of plonk already on the market. Csaba Horváth, who heads Hungary's national association of winegrowers, told Világgazdaság that Brussels may have delayed the decision in order to pay the subsidies for less wine. He added that the EU could pay less as it is, because this year's harvest will be a smaller-than-expected 3mln-3.5mln hectolitres. Horváth said winegrowers must still find a distiller willing to take on their unwanted wine. So far, just one has signaled interest. And then they must find a buyer for the distilled alcohol.