Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Monday, 26 April 2004

EU expansion - 1st May will see several new winemaking countries become members

As a wine consumer, one aspect of the accession of 10 new member countries to the EU on 1st May which interests me is that several are wine-producers. These include Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia and of course some of the others have vineyards, too. Because of over-production of wine in existing member states, strict quotas have been imposed on the accession countries which affect their ability to plant additional vine acreage. According to this report, the terms of entry negotiated by the Czech Republic's negotiators are particualry severe, whereas negotiators for Hungary have managed to obtain more favourable terms.

Of the accession countries the only one whose wines I know well is Hungary, although I have occasionally tasted wine from a couple of the others, and Hungarian wine has improved dramatically in the past fifteen years and the country will undoubtedly one day become a producer of some of the best wines, as it was prior to WWII and the era of communist rule. EU membership will give these new countries tariff-free access to the whole of the European Union and I look forward to seeing many more of their wines on sale here in coming years. I doubt very much, though, if imports from our main supplying countries (Australia, France, Italy, South Africa, Chile, Spain, etc. etc.) will suffer too much, although the increasing range of sources for wine will exert pressure on producers to make better quality wines.

Sounds good to me - Cheers!