Too much wine in Europe

Grapes in a Montgenost vineyard in the Champagne area of eastern France.

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: The European Union has a drinking problem. There's too much wine on the market, and the E.U. wants to do something about it. Jill Barshay reports.


Jill Barshay: European vineyards grow too many grapes.

European taxpayers pour more than $1.7 billion a year into their wine industry, but the E.U. says almost half of that is spent on getting rid of excess grapes.

Instead, the E.U. would prefer to pay inefficient farmers to destroy their vines. The E.U. also wants to launch a marketing campaign. French and Italian wines have been losing ground to Australia and the Americas.

Karen Ross is President of the California Association of Winegrape Growers. She says the proposal won't change much.

Karen Ross: While they are a highly subsidized business in wine in the E.U., they're not talking about reducing the billions of dollars that are being spent. They're just talking about shifting that investment.

She says it won't put a cork in the worldwide wine glut either. European farmers would be allowed to plant as many grapes as they want after 2013.

In New York, I'm Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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