Wine Institute: The European think-tank for the wine industry

Sunday March 27 2016 by Vitisphere

The Wine Institute’s aim is not to create a consensus but to offer an arena for reflection and debate. It’s about taking a step back and giving more thought to what should be done instead of drafting a strategy aimed at reaching a political agreement. The Wine Institute is here to provide a different ambition for European debate”, said Luc Vernet, head of public relations at Farm Europe, an agricultural think tank created roughly a year ago that brings together various agricultural organisations across Europe. The Wine Institute was created at the initiative of the French and Italian co-operative movements and is tasked with giving specific thought to wine issues.

Our roadmap is clear: we aim to anticipate deadlines”, explained Luc Vernet. This basically means that instead of putting out fires at EU level and in the European parliament, the Institute will put forward proposals beforehand. The main area of reflection is the post-2020 era when a number of issues will be up for debate including simplification, labelling, innovation and climate change. Probably the prime issue is product segmentation and, virtually as a corollary, exports and promotion. In Europe, as in France, there is debate as to which tack to take in terms of sales strategy: to continue to focus on the top-end – the European wine industry brings in a positive trade balance of 9 billion euros for the EU – or to decide to remain a world leader by being ambitious across the price points, including entry-level. “This needs to be given consideration and it will be at the heart of our recommendations”, commented Luc Vernet. A report commissioned by the European Union at the end of 2014 issued some extremely liberal proposals on the matter.

The Wine Institute also aims to examine export promotion. A European agency for promotion of agricultural products has just been established. The think tank will study how the European wine industry can make full use of it.

Finally, an inevitable issue for debate is planting authorisations and thought will be given as to how the system is applied and what recommendations could be made to improve it.

A new voice for the industry is emerging in Brussels and it may change the way lobbying is currently carried out, forcing the traditional organisations to come forward with their own recommendations too.

 

Source and photo: Vitisphere.

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