Thierry Coste takes stock as he steps down as chair of the Copa-Cogeca wine group

Friday March 19 2021 by Vitisphere

 “Everyone must be able to carry on. It is important to maintain the diversity of European viticulture”, said Thierry Coste. “Everyone must be able to carry on. It is important to maintain the diversity of European viticulture”, said Thierry Coste. - Photo credit : DR

Since 2010, Thierry Coste, a winegrower from Hérault in the South of France, has been elected six times in a row as chair of the wine group of the European farmers (Copa) and Agri-Cooperative (Cogeca) organisation.

 

You are stepping down as chair of the Copa-Cogeca wine group...

Thierry Coste: I have reached the legal retirement age, 62, and did not want to stand for re-election. The new chairman is Luca Rigotti, chairman of the Italian Wine Co-operative Alliance. I am going to look after my 40 hectares of vines. I'm giving up my responsibilities, and as long as I'm healthy I want to look after my vineyard.

 

Was your greatest battle transforming the abolition of planting rights into planting authorisations? In the beginning, there was no guarantee of success…

In the beginning, it was a lost cause! European legislation stated that from 2016 all restrictions were lifted. It was a real battle, which we won through the cohesive efforts of all the producer organisations, the excellent way in which the European Commissioner Dacian Cioloș listened, and the fact that the stars were aligned.

 

The most topical issue currently is European management of the economic crisis caused by the Covid pandemic…

I spent all of 2020 calling for a high-level group to be established. We need a real three-year recovery plan, and not just financial. There is now a four-month pause in American duties, but we also have to contend with a complete standstill caused by the closure of the hospitality industry, planes stuck on the ground and tourism in a state of deadlock... We need a recovery plan for wine growing. It is important to maintain the diversity of European viticulture, through co-operatives and winegrowers whose strength is in the family aspect of the industry.

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