Last month, the Regione Toscana (Tuscan Regional Authority) announced that, using EU subsidies, it will pay Chianti and Chianti Classico producers Euro 3,200 for every hectare of “green harvested” vines.
I am well aware that, according to EU legislation, “green harvesting means the total destruction or removal of grape bunches while still in their immature stage, thereby reducing the yield of the relevant area to zero.”
I am also aware that “support for green harvesting shall contribute to restoring the balance of supply and demand in the market in wine in the Community in order to prevent market crises” [the final phase of EU Common Market Organisation reforms that include voluntary grubbing-up incentives to be distributed to and applied by EU members at their discretion, subsidies intended to reduce the number of vineyards that may have never produced wines but were planted rather to reap distillation subsidies in years of reckless EU promotion of growth].
Frankly, I just can’t understand this means of regulation and “balancing” production to aid producers during the market crisis. Honestly, I find it hard to swallow.
In my view, such regulation seems more suited to industries like iron and steel or car manufacturing — not for such a wondrous thing as wine.
Perhaps I’m a stubborn old enophilic Don Quixote who views wine romantically, as an expression of the earth, a modality of rustic knowledge, and the fruit of artisan culture. It is not a simple product that can be financed and manufactured when the market is “up” and then discarded when things get difficult.
Strange things have been happening in the world of wine today.