Planting rights agreement: consumers lose, protectionist lobbyists win

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The EU will not abolish planting rights as agreed, but only relax it a bit

It seems that the EU countries have agreed to a change in the planting rights system in the current round of agriculture negotiations that means that is will be kept in place. It has previously been agreed that the planting rights system should be abolished. This was one step in the wine sector reform that was intended to improve the dynamism of the wine industry in Europe and that would be good for consumers. Backwards lobby organisations have won.

Young vine
Young vine, copyright BKWine Photography

Sadly, strong lobbying from some wine producing countries and the from backward-looking wine lobbying organisations such as Confédération Nationale des producteurs de vin et eau-de-vie de vin à Appellations d’Origine Contrôlé (CNAOC) and the European Federation of Origin Wines (Fédération Européenne des Vins d’Origine, EFOW) have stopped this reform.

These organisations seem more interested in protecting the acquired benefits of incumbent wine growers and not interested in creating a dynamic wine sector that focuses on the consumer.

A weak compromise has been agreed according to which there will be a limit to new plantations of 1% per year until 2030. This is sad for consumers and sad for wine producers that want a successful and dynamic wine industry in Europe. Read more on Vitisphere.

It is also ironic in view of the poor performance of the European wine industry that the old protectionist policies that the planting right advocates have resulted in. Read more on that in this series of articles, for example how European agricultural policies are destroying Europe’s vineyards.

Policies such as planting rights and other illiberal measures have led to a steady decline of the European wine industry.

It would be better to encourage dynamism, open markets and competition. Instead, the consumers will now pay the price of protectionism. More expensive wines. Less dynamic wine sector. Sad.

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