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Europe’s big wine countries are getting smaller

Sandy soil and old vines in a vineyard in Castile and Leon in Spain

Sandy soil and old vines in a vineyard in Castile and Leon in Spain, copyright BKWine Photography

Since 2008, France, Italy and Spain have pulled up vineyards and this has resulted in a European vineyard decrease of 4%, according to La Vigne. A total of 160 550 hectares of wine-growing land have been pulled up which means the initial goal of 175 000 hectares was almost achieved. Most of the land was in Spain. 94 000 hectares of wine land, which is 9% of the Spanish total area, has disappeared. Italy has reduced its area with 28 500 hectares and France with 22 638 hectares.

The reason for this EU initiative is to try to become more competitive on the world market by getting rid of unprofitable vineyards. In France, 70% of the pulled out vineyards was in Languedoc-Roussillon which means that 6% of the area in the Languedoc has disappeared, most of it belonging to cooperatives.

10 grape varieties – 9 red and one white – account for 79% of the stocks pulled up in France: carignan, grenache, merlot, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, alicante bouschet, cinsault, gamay , cabernet franc and chardonnay, according to statistics from www.franceagrimer.fr.

Sandy soil in a vineyard in Castile and Leon in Spain

Sandy soil in a vineyard in Castile and Leon in Spain, copyright BKWine Photography

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