The French wine industry considers ‘deferred vineyard restructuring’, aka temporary vine pulls

Wednesday December 16 2020 by Vitisphere

 “The proposal by the wine board is based on vine pull and staggered restructuring. The technical details have not yet been decided”, explains Jérôme Despey. “The proposal by the wine board is based on vine pull and staggered restructuring. The technical details have not yet been decided”, explains Jérôme Despey.

On 9 December, the latest FranceAgriMer wine board meeting that you presided over discussed a temporary grubbing-up, or rather deferred restructuring, scheme...

Jérôme Despey: The deferred restructuring project is primarily about restructuring. The principle unanimously agreed on by the industry is to protect production potential by encouraging growers to pull vines in 2021 and postpone plantings until 3 to 5 years later. This requires a new framework which would be reflected in collective plans from the 2022 season onwards. If vines have not been replanted after five years, the grant must be repaid. Replanting is necessary, this is not about permanent vine pull. Our proposal is to increase grants from €400 to €1,000 per hectare for grubbing-up, compensation for loss of harvest equivalent to €2,000/ha per year of deferred planting (perhaps with a bonus for Young Farmers) and restructuring aid according to the current scale. What is positive is that the Ministry of Agriculture has shown interest in proposals by the industry. No decision has been made but there have been discussions about allowing grubbing-up to take place starting in 2021 followed in the second half of 2021 by a collective plan for 2022.

 

How would the system work in practical terms?

Details of the way the scheme will operate have not been finalised, but the current restructuring rules apply (vineyard management changes in terms of planting density, trellising, varietal range, etc.). If I grub up my vines and do not plan to replant them until 3 or 5 years from now, I receive an advance payment for the grubbing-up, then compensation for loss of harvest over the period and restructuring aid at the end of the period. The measure protects production potential and allows us to get through these challenging times. The later I plant, the more compensation I get.

Over time, the compensation will be discussed with the European Commission. France will explain the importance of establishing compensation before replanting. The time frame meets environmental concerns: it allows the soil to rest and offers the prospect of a reduction in plant protection products in the hope that new varieties resistant to downy and powdery mildew will be available by then.

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