Friday, June 23, 2006

Oh stop your w(h)ining!

Europe is producing too much wine for which there is no market resulting in an enormous wine surplus (leading to the rather delicious-sounding ‘European wine lake’) and an increased reliance on ‘crisis distillation’, whereby wine is turned into industrial ethanol.

The EU’s 'crisis distillation' measure was supposed to be for exceptional circumstances. Regrettably, it has now become a regular tool of market management and is even being used for so-called 'quality' wine. This is an unsustainable - some might say crazy - way to spend taxpayers’ money. We are paying huge sums to distil wine, store it, and in some cases turn it into bioethanol for use in cars and factories.

Yesterday Mariann Fischer Boel, Member of the European Commission responsible for Agriculture and Rural Development announced a range of measures to reform the EU wine market.

Ms Fischer Boel said the distillation schemes made no economic sense. "Distillation is supposed to be a crisis measure, instead it has become a way to regulate the market," she said. "It is a ridiculous way to spend taxpayers' money."

She called for an end to rules that forbid EU winemakers from blending grapes of a single variety, such as chardonnay, from more than one region, and selling them under simple, self-explanatory labels like "2005 Australian Chardonnay".

Instead, European labelling rules are unhelpful to many consumers, focusing on telling them which "château" or "domaine" a wine is from, and whether it is an "appellation contrôlé", a "grand cru", or a "crianza". Instead, the commission wants to have just two categories of wine: wine with geographical indication and wines without.

Stopping the “crisis distillation” and reforming the labelling are plain common sense. Protectionist labelling has obviously backfired. Although I fervently hope that Europe doesn't resort to making dumbed down Esperanto wines to compete with Australia and California.

But other measures include grubbing-up incentives which see the EU financing 'uncompetitive producers to leave the sector'. Brussels is looking for 400,000ha of vines to be pulled up over a five-year period.

You what? They are uncompetitive so we will PAY them to go out of business? That makes sense in what place other than the EU?

Basically we are awash in bad wine. My solution?

Let the producers of bad wine go out of business all by themselves. Putting the varietal type on the label, won’t sacrifice the individual personalities of the great wine regions for goodness sake! And keep the price of decent wines within the reach of ordinary people’s pockets

So pour the damn Chateau Protectionism 2006 down the drain and let market forces re-invigorate the sector. Thus saving the tax payer a considerable sum. No that's far too obvious for the EU!

Oh dear, The Telegraph Leader writer agrees with me! How disconcerting.!


Blogger Paul said...

Don't worry about agreeing with the Telegraph - as I pointed out on the UK News Board there's a feeling that we all get more right wing with age.

I agree with the market forces bit myself - Keir Hardie will be spinning in his grave.

Fri Jun 23, 02:43:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Lucy said...

Fuel, now there's an idea. I wonder if it would make the cars smell nicer too :)

Fri Jun 23, 03:06:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

If I start agreeing with the Dail Mail next, someone come round and shoot me, please!

The Brasilians have been running their cars on Cachaca (a spirit made from sugar cane) for years. It's frightfully green. Fabulous stuff. My sister used to work in rio and brought a bottle of the stuff back with her - lasted for years as no-one could ever manage more than one in a vat of juice.

The trouble with crisiss distillation is that the EU has been paying fine wine prices for a commodity. Daft.

Fri Jun 23, 03:32:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Span Ows said...

The Gav is back...yippee!

Re EU...they're politicians and civil servatnts, what do you expect? Efficiency?!!!

Nice Spanish styleee spelling of Brazilians...really you should have written brasileños (and before you comment, no capital B is correct)

Sat Jun 24, 12:25:00 AM GMT+1  
Blogger Sarnia said...

Hello Gavin,

My comments are nothing to do with what you have written (nothing new there then).

I've just seen your comments on TS re: cliques and think that you are right.

However, each board has its clique - UK News being a prime example - and I understand how a newbie must feel.

The Radio 4 Boards are the same - I lurk there sometimes!

Mags doesn't call me the septic one - she refers to where I live as the Septic Tank (a play on Spectered (sp?) Isle - very funny actually but don't tell her I said that.

It's just down to a group of people posting on the same board over a period of time - and, although I would never consider myself unfriendly to "newbies", I understand how that perception can be made.

I remember when I first started posting - I felt a little daunted at first but just waded in!

So - is your son back from Uni? Has he enjoyed his first year?

Mine has been back for two weeks - I'd forgotten how much he bloody eats!

Agree with your comments about the French National Anthem btw.

Sat Jun 24, 11:21:00 AM GMT+1  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

That would be the (correct) Portugese spelling of Brasil, Spanish! I told you my sister used to live there and she was a stickler for this kind of thing. Curiously my sister doesn't look anything like me. I may have mentioned that I am blonde in a previous post Viking. We both tan up very well but my sister has dark hair and eyes which coupled with a gift for languages have meant that she could pass for a native in Rio. She was never mugged and taxi drivers didn't rip her off as a result. Me I shall always look like a Viking.

I should also point out that my sister is impervious to weather. She was pictured wearing the same t-shirt jeans and sheepskin boots in Prudoe Bay and Copacabana beach.

(Incidentally she did purchase a T-shirt in Alaska which said on the front, "If you think Hell never freezes over..." and on the back it says "'ve never been to Prudoe Bay".) But that is not indication that she believed the sentiment...

My sister is in oil by the way.

Sat Jun 24, 09:26:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Yup Sarns,

The boy has been back for a bit, but he retained his room in hall until I moved him out today.

He really is a very nice boy (i'm not sure how this occurred precisely) but he took his little brother and sister up to town last weekend. They had intended to see the troop of the colour but set off a bit late, but the went to see The Lion King in the West End, slept over in his Hall, refrained from queueing for the London Eye, marvelled at Big Ben and black cabs, wobbled about in tube train carriages, went to the London Dungeon (impressed younger son, younger daughter still having nightmares) then back on another lovely train.

How good is that?

But you are SO right! Where does he put the food?

I have to quote for the record:

"This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,--
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England."

"King Richard II", Act 2 scene 1

Obviously Guernsey is septic in comparison!

Sat Jun 24, 09:41:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Span Ows said...

No, (taps foot) that is brasileiros...

P.S.wonderful bard...

Sat Jun 24, 11:31:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Sarnia said...

Wonderful stuff.

John of Gaunt btw.

Sun Jun 25, 12:03:00 AM GMT+1  
Blogger Sarnia said...

Posted last night when (seriously) pissed - hence only 6 words!

Your son sounds a lovely boy. My three children are all lovely too - like you I'm not sure how that happened.

Thomas (that's the oldest one) is quite happy to ferry his younger brother and sister around (as long as I provide the petrol money) wherever and whenever they want.

He's off to Turkey soon for a week's holiday with his friends.

He's seen Midnight Express so will do his best not to get thrown into a Turkish jail.

I'm getting pysched up for this afternoon's game...

Hello Span (if you're reading this) how the hell are you?

Sun Jun 25, 11:27:00 AM GMT+1  
Blogger Lightning said...

Too much wine eh! Does that mean the prices could drop dramatically? Don't think so, they would rather pour it down the drain.

Sun Jun 25, 02:00:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger flyingfinn said...

They could always give the surplus wine to me. I would be a happy recipient ;-)

Sun Jun 25, 08:09:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

I think Sarnia's got her mits on some of the surplus...

Mon Jun 26, 11:54:00 AM GMT+1  
Blogger Sarnia said...

[Hic] That is an outrageous slur!

Mon Jun 26, 03:46:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...


I'm thinking of brewing my that charmingly eccentric or plain barking...?

Mon Jun 26, 09:17:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Sarnia said...

It's charmingly barking and plain eccentric.

Just go to your wine shop and buy it by the case like normal people do.

Urrgh - have this horrible vision of people who "brew their own".

Pottering about in their garden shed (in shirt, tie and cardigan with leather patches on the sleeves), scribbling down notes on how to prevent the odd explosion in the barrel (too much yeast Brian) and then tormenting family and friends by forcing them to try your latest dandelion and burdock...

HOW can you even contemplate it?

Mon Jun 26, 11:11:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger flyingfinn said...

I have thought about trying to brew my own beer.

Tue Jun 27, 08:51:00 AM GMT+1  
Blogger Lucy said...

One of my late mothers hobbies was home brew. Elder flower was her favorite and I have many happy memories of harvesting the flowers then soaking (boiling? can't remember) and straining with her.
Eccentric, probably - but lovably so

Tue Jun 27, 10:57:00 AM GMT+1  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

SEE!! Lovably eccentric! It's only a horrible vision if you make bad wine Sarnia.

Tue Jun 27, 03:54:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Sarnia said...

Sloe gin is lovely. I've never made it (far too lazy) but I have friends who do.

Blimey! France came good tonight. Just reinforces my belief that England WILL win on Saturday.

Tue Jun 27, 10:29:00 PM GMT+1  
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Thu Jun 29, 07:22:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Six Years Late said...

Don't you just hate blg spam.

Making your own wine is pointless. Best thing to do I find, is find out when the 'Wine Society' are delivering to your Grandfather and then take a bottle per case home for research purposes. I've been doing it for years and it seems to work very well.

Fri Jun 30, 10:29:00 AM GMT+1  

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