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New EU Vineyard System

Wine law amendment enters into force on January 1st, 2016.

According to Johannes Schmuckenschlager, president of the Austrian Wine Growers Association: “It is well known that the EU has adopted a new vineyard regime that focuses on the moderate development of European viticulture. The previous vineyard quota system will be replaced by an authorisation system. This means that in the future, the same surface area of vineyards that had been grubbed up can be planted again, and any new vineyard area would need special planting authorisation. However, each country can permit no more than 1% of its winegrowing area for new plantations. In Austria, it has been a fact for years that vintners – for example from wineries declining in operation – had continuously grubbed up vineyards, most of which have never been re-planted. Therefore it can be assumed that, under the new system, Austria's total vineyard surface area will remain relatively constant. So we will approve in Austria new plantations that are the equivalent of up to 1% of the existing total vineyard surface area in order to ensure that our production potential remains the same in the long term.”

The picture shows vineyards of Styria. Copyright: Austria Wine Marketing Board/Armin Faber
© Austrian Wine/Armin Faber

How Does the New EU System Function?

The previous vineyard surface quota system will be replaced by the new vineyard surface authorisation system. Instead of following the quota system requirements, a vintner will be able to plant a new vineyard area that is equivalent to the size of the area that had been grubbed up (re-planting), or the vintner can obtain official authorisation for new planting. A member country can authorise annual new plantings up to a maximum of 1 % of its current vineyard surface area. For Austria, this means a permission to plant up to 445 hectares of new/additional vineyards in one year. A single winery or operation with a surface that had been grubbed up can plant anew within three years. This right is valid only for each specific winery or operation involved and cannot be transferred to another winery or operation. The new system will go into effect on January 1st, 2016, but the former quota system still could be followed for a certain period of time.

Assessment of the Wine Law Amendment

According to EU market regulations, the management of the vineyard register in the future must be carried out through an integrated administration and control system (IACS – which is known in Austria as InVeKoS). The Austrian federal states with viticulture - each of which are, for the time being, responsible for managing their own vineyard registries - will have to utilise the IACS system in the future; the system was established in Austria as InVeKoS by the Agrarmarkt Austria (AMA). The implementation of this project of course requires an appropriate lead and execution time. Its legal basis is to be created in sync with the wine law amendment currently under evaluation.

What is the Difference?

The main difference between the new system (IACS-integrated) and the previous vineyard register system is that the new system is based on the management of the actual cultivated area - a net area system. The previous vineyard register system, applied through the regional/district administrative authorities, usually meant working with gross area system – which recorded also uncultivated areas such as embankments, fields and borders, and bush growth locations. With the new system, calculations will be made according to the actual grapevine-planted vineyard surface only.
Through the electronic Austria-wide management of the viticultural potential, statistics on, for example, the age of the grapevines and the distribution of grape varieties, can be acquired with just the click of a button.

Press contact

Verband der Agrarjournalisten und -publizisten in Österreich (VAÖ)
(Association of Agricultural Journalists and Publicists in Austria)
Executive Committee Offices:
Schauflergasse 6, 1014 Vienna, Austria
Tel: +43 (1) 53441-8521, Fax: -8519
E-mail: j.siffert@lk-oe.at


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