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Hungary, Austria support keeping replanting rights for winegrowers

Hungary and Austria both support keeping the current system for replanting rights for winegrowers, Hungarian Rural Development Minister Sandor Fazekas and his Austrian counterpart Nikolaus Berlakovich said at the opening of a wine fair in Vienna on Sunday.

Although most delicate questions concerning the EU wine market were put to rest during reforms in 2006-2009, the ban on planting new vines as well as the system for replanting rights remained questions,  Fazekas said. The European Union must scrutinize these questions when it completes an assessment of the 2006-2009 reforms, probably at the end of 2012, he added.

Many member states want the current ban on replanting vines to be ended, but Hungary and Austria agree the question must be handled carefully, he said. Ending the restriction could lead to overproduction, he added.

The EU must continue to support quality, rather than quantity, on the wine market, he said.

Fazekas pressed for a simpler and more transparent system for subsidizing wine promotion, especially within the EU. He stressed the growing importance of the promotion of European wine, part of the continent's cultural heritage.