Allegrini 2018

The measures of the Ocm architrave of the growth of the wine sector in Europe

In the analysis of the European Commission, the weight of Community aid, which is fundamental to respond to market changes
The weight of the Ocm on European wine

The impact of the CMO measures on the wine sector is fundamental, and to confirm this is a substantial analysis by the European Commission (which you can find here in full), which has put the effects of EU aid on the economy of the wine sector under the lens in the period 2014-2018. First of all, the number of funds, divided between 16 Member States, was 5.507 billion euros, and the main beneficiaries were Italy (1.685 billion euros), France (1.403 billion euros) and Spain (1.052 billion euros), the most important measure was the conversion and restructuring of vineyards, which absorbed 50.2% of resources, followed by investment in improving production processes (21.6%) and promotion (17.6%), with significant differences between countries.
The funds for the restructuring and conversion of vineyards have been fundamental in the qualitative and managerial leap in quality, of 330,000 hectares of vineyards, 10% of Europe’s vineyards, especially to meet the needs of the markets, increasingly aimed at quality productions, and therefore with Do and Ig wines, with another important aspect, the conservation of traditional productions.
Another important investment field is that which concerns key competitiveness factors such as production processes, bottling, and marketing, with EU funds that have supported, for example, the vertical restructuring of small wineries, where today there is a tasting room and direct sales. And if in Italy the most discussed and coveted measure is always that of internationalization, at a European level one of the positive effects is, besides obviously supporting the tout court promotion, the implementation of cooperation between producers and between producers and organizations, starting with the Consortia. In this context, EU legislation plays an important role: labelling uniformly guarantees the quality of production, especially denomination, of the Old Continent, while the rules on oenological practices maintain generally high production standards, even if, according to the analysis of the European Commission, there are at least two weaknesses: not to consider a product as wine below 8.5 degrees and not to allow the addition of water to lower the alcohol content leads to competitive disadvantages in world markets.
As mentioned, the measures of the Ocm have been central in responding to the needs of a world in which, since 2008, consumption has collapsed in traditional producing countries, and grew in the U.S., China, UK, Russia, Australia and Canada, with demand focused mainly on two categories, the rose and bubbles, France responded with the rosés from Provence and Italy with Prosecco,
which have based their success on the restructuring of vineyards and promotion, but consumers are also increasingly interested in quality wines, wines from the territory and wines produced with respect for the environment. At the regulatory level, the introduction in 2016 of the system of permits for new plants, which limits new rows to 1% of the total number of vines: the long-term effects will have to be analyzed later, but for now has brought above all greater rigidity in the responses that the producer can give to changes in the market and some uncertainty. Overall, however, the result of the combined provisions of the Ocm is decidedly positive, and this is demonstrated by a figure: -5.9% of wine stocks in European wineries between 2010 and 2016, a sign that production levels, as well as supply, are the right ones, with Do wines continuing to grow in terms of quotas.
Speaking of the wine market, Europe is still the leading producer, with 56% of world production, while Spain, Italy, and France remain the leading exporters, growing steadily but not everywhere, on secondary markets, in fact, to grow are especially the countries outside the EU: a context in which the measures for promotion have proved essential for the competitiveness of European wine. If the specific weight of the ECM funds is obviously positive, the efficiency of its structure could instead improve: the bureaucratic burden is still enormous, but the certainty of the funds at five years is positive, even if the approach is different between countries, because there are those who opt for the allocation of long-time budgets and those, like Italy, annual.
The possibility of transferring funds from one measure to another, on the other hand, has been the key to allowing flexibility and optimization of funds. One of the declared aims of the CMO measures is not to respond to environmental needs and climate change, but over the years the measure dedicated to the restructuring and conversion of vineyards has played a significant role in adapting the European vineyard to climate change and in defending biodiversity. Even more distant are the public health policies, which sometimes clash importantly with the objectives of the CMO: if on the one hand the goal is to limit the use and abuse of alcohol, on the other hand there is the need to support a productive sector, which can exist only if consumption continues to grow, or at least to remain stable. Complementary to the Ocm, however, are the Psr funds, which are integrated to help the world of wine. The overall assessment of the added value of EU aid to the wine sector is positive, because the various instruments respond well to the production and commercial needs of the sector. However, from a future perspective, the OCM will have to set itself different goals: from safeguarding the environment to protecting small producers, from training a skilled workforce to implementing measures capable of responding to climate change. In the same way, EU legislation, while on the one hand, in the absence of shared standards all over the world, is vital to guarantee the quality of the wine product, on the other it must question the effectiveness of the Do and the Ig and on their labels , because it is true that they create added value and competitive advantages, but consumers still know too little about it. Finally, the analysis by the European Commission shows another need, that of better monitoring by the Member States of the use of funds, especially as regards the effectiveness of individual measures, so as to better structure the next campaign.

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