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Policy Focus


a. Nutritional labelling

The current provisions of the Food Information to Consumers Regulation (Regulation No. 1169/2011) exempt alcoholic beverages containing more than 1,2 % by volume of alcohol from the mandatory labeling requirement to provide an ingredients list and a nutrition declaration.
Food operators can include such information on alcoholic beverages containing more than 1,2 % by volume of alcohol on a voluntary basis. Despite the specific exemptions for alcoholic beverages incorporated in the FIC Regulation, the European Commission had the obligation to produce a report on whether alcoholic beverages should be covered in the future by the mandatory labeling requirement to provide the ingredients list and nutrition declaration. The report must also include reasons justifying possible exemptions.

On 13 March 2017, the Commission published the report and invited the industry to develop, within a year, “a self-regulatory proposal aiming to provide information on ingredients and nutrition of all alcoholic beverages”.

On 12 March 2018, the sectors have responsibly developed a meaningful and adapted voluntary solution to address consumer expectations about ingredients listing and nutritional information.

The sectors have worked constructively together to put forward a joint proposal to provide consumers with meaningful, clear and easy to understand information on these aspects. The sectors’ objective is to improve consumer knowledge about these products and to empower them to make informed decisions about the products that they choose to consume within a balanced lifestyle.

The key elements of the guiding principles drawn up by the European alcoholic beverages sectors are as follows:

The nutrition information and the list of ingredients will be provided in tailored and meaningful ways.

The nutrition information and the list of ingredients will be given to consumers off-label and/or on label. Information provided off-label will be easily accessible from the label itself.

Traditional and/or innovative tools will be used and comprehensive modern information systems may be developed.

Food business operators responsible for the food information will decide how to display the information.

Each sector has defined more precisely its specific commitment in an annex taking into account the EU legal framework that applies to the alcoholic beverages sector that it represents.

There will be a report on the implementation of both the general commitments and the sectors’ progress in the implementation of their individual commitments by March 2021.

The European Commission is currently assessing the industry proposal submitted the last march. The self-regulatory proposal consists of:

Joint self-regulatory proposal from the European alcoholic beverages sectors on the provision of nutrition and ingredients listing.

Detailed wine and aromatised wine products.

b. Wine in moderation Programme

The WiM Association is the international association, founded by wine sector associations and leading wine companies, that centrally coordinates the Wine in Moderation Programme and expands its reach and impact throughout the world.

The WIM programmes consist in providing a common approach to foster wine sector contribution in the fight against alcohol-related harm. To empower wine professionals and promote responsible business practices. To train professionals to improve knowledge and competences on wine, health and social aspects. To promote and implement self-regulation practices to ensure responsibility in the commercial communication of wine. To make available relevant and robust evidence-based scientific information, to secure credibility, enhance actions and facilitate dialogue on wine, health and social aspects.

CEVI joined Wine in Moderation as an observer member in 2015. The WIM programme is perfectly in line with independent winegrowers’ philosophy, which is to inform consumers about the dangers of alcohol abuse and to promote a moderate consumption of wine in line with a healthy lifestyle.

European Independent winegrowers use to sell their wines directly to the consumers. Joining the programme, it is an efficient way to provide winegrowers with arguments and recommendations to share with consumers.

& sustainability

a. Renewal of copper compounds

European Independent Winegrowers are closely monitoring the ongoing renewal of approval of copper compounds.

Both in traditional and organic farming, winegrowers are obliged to use copper to prevent certain fungal diseases rather than using synthetic pesticides. Copper is primarily used in vineyards to control downy mildew (Plasmopara viticola). This pathogen is responsible for major grape/production losses. However, CEVI is perfectly aware that a change of mindset among winegrowers is required, along with long-term commitments and scientific researches to building sustainable, diversified, and equitably wine production systems.

Independent winegrowers recognize that an excessive use of copper could lead to harmful effects on soil micro-organism, fauna and groundwater. That is why, our members, already move toward a more sustainable viticulture, based on the deployment of different solutions aiming at decrease the use of copper in the vineyard. Despite this, the alternatives to copper available today have proved to be only partially effective or not yet applicable. For instance, the introduction of resistant varieties implies a change in DOP regulation, which will take years. Prophylactic measures based on prevention and/or natural products (essential oils) based on the natural stimulation of plants defenses’ have proved little results to cope with these diseases.

If the copper compounds will not be renewed, there will be a double consequence. Organic wine production will simply disappear: as copper is the only fungicides (sulfur is the other one) allowed coping with mildew. On the other side, as copper is used as well in traditional farming, there is a real and impending risk: farmers could turn to many hazardous substances for human health and environment.



High environmental value (HEV) is the highest level of a generalised scheme for the environmental certification of farms. Farm environmental certification is a voluntary approach which aims to identify and promote particularly environmentally friendly practices applied by farmers and winegrowers. HEV covers four key areas:

biodiversity conservation

plant protection strategy

Traditional andmanaged fertiliser use/or innovative tools will be used and comprehensive modern information systems may be developed.

water resource management

Farm certification offers a guarantee that the pressure applied to the environment by farming practices (on air, water, soil, climate, biodiversity, and landscape) is kept to a minimum.

The HEV logo is associated with a value statement and can be placed on both processed and unprocessed products containing at least 95% of base materials from farms certified as having High Environmental Value. The presence of the logo on processed products makes it possible to highlight for consumers the efforts of farms committed to the highest level of the environmental certification scheme.

Since 2002, the number of certified farms is increasing steadily, now totaling almost 800 farms across the whole of France.

CEVI is spreading the values behind the logo within the European Union institutions and demand to the Commission to adopt it at European level.



Today in Europe, online sale are growing rapidly. The internet’s possibilities for retailing products are enormous. However, physical distribution of wines to consumers still requires intermediaries. Direct sales and e-commerce are an important source of income for our enterprises: wine tourism development and short supply chain are essential levers of competitiveness for the sector. Direct sales (both on and off internet) guarantee a fairer distribution of the added value in the entire food chain.

The European policies of the last years have encouraged and still encourage the purchase of farm products directly from the producer. Unfortunately, as far as wine is concerned, this type of purchase does not cross national borders. The holding and movement of wine within the EU is governed by Directive 2008/118. The Directive establishes the conditions that must be respected by buyers and sellers within the European Union.

According to Article 36 of this Directive, in the case of distance sales from one EU country to another of excise goods already released for consumption in one Member State, which are purchased by a person and transported to another MS directly or indirectly by the vendor or on his behalf, shall be subject to excise duty in the EU country of destination. However, the current regulation obliges the wine producer to pass through a tax representative to ensure that excise duties are paid. This system generates extra costs and important administrative burdens that make direct sales practically impossible in Europe.

After the Fiscalis’ study launched by the Commission in 2015, which pointed out these difficulties, the Commission called for the creation of a ONE-STOP-SHOP (OSS) to pay excise duty on wine. CEVI thanked the Commission for the work that has been carried out on distance selling and welcomed the Commission’s proposal. It is important that the regulatory framework now will be implemented in a timely manner. At this regard, CEVI is keeping the pressure on the Commission participating at the Excise Contact Groups organized by the Commission twice a year. To find out more details about CEVI’s position on this issue, please refers to the Press Release section.

B. Monopoly issue

In the light of the recent warnings coming from some of CEVI’s members, namely Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovenia, CEVI would like to draw Commission’s attention to a problem that Independent Winegrowers are facing while offering their products to the monopolies of the Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Finland, Norway and Iceland).

The problem is mainly related to the fact that producers are limited in their offers to the specifications made by each monopoly in tenders for purchases of wines to be sold in the retail shops network of the respective countries. Basically, each monopoly has the power to decide arbitrarily which are the products that producers, from a particular country of origin, may offer on the market.

CEVI recalled the Commission that among the most important objectives of the Treaties of the European Union is the creation of a common internal market for citizens and businesses (article 34 of the TFUE). This is an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured in accordance with the provisions of the Treaties. The freedom of movement of goods is fundamental for business activities and its achievement is related to the elimination of all trade barriers between Member States, especially those related to imports and exports, including all measures having an equivalent effect. Moreover the European Commission should supervise that Member States adjust any State monopolies of a commercial character so as to ensure that no discrimination regarding the conditions under which goods are procured and marketed exists between nationals of Member States (article 37 of the TFUE).

Competition rules of the Treaties (Article 102 of the TFUE) impose that businesses and Member States including the monopolies they retain do not distort free and undistorted competition within the internal market, including by impeding imports or exports. This is the reason why the previously hold monopolies over imports of alcoholic beverages in Finland and Sweden were declared incompatible with the objectives of the EU Treaties and abolished after their accession to the Community. Only retail monopolies are accepted, provided that they do not distort competition between products from different Member States.

CEVI believes that the current purchasing policy of the monopolies in practice hinder imports as far as producers are limited to offer only product categories specified by the monopoly instead of offering the entire range of their products (organic wines, boutique wines of a higher quality, wines from local grape varieties etc.) that are able to be marketed and to compete for access to the market. For instance, the Bulgarian Association of Independent Winegrowers (http://baiw.org/en/) recently received a tender from Systembolaget for a Bordeaux Blend or a blend from Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah with grapes from Bulgaria for 1,10€ – 1,75€ per liter. The wines produced by BAIW cannot absolutely meet these prices and as a consequence they are left out of the market. On the other hand a wine coming from France, same grapes Cabernet Sauvignon is paid by the Systembolaget between 4,7€ and 6,5€ per bottle (750 ml).

As a conclusion, CEVI believes that the current purchasing policies deployed by the Scandinavian Monopolies are against the EU Treaties’ provisions on free movement of goods and on competition (Article 34, article 37 and Article 102 of the TFEU). Free movement of citizens and goods represents a pillar of the success of the EU single market and it is then essential to a functioning market economy.

In view of the above, CEVI invites the Commission to investigate about the monopolies behavior and to protect EU single market.


C. CAP Reform

On the 1st of June 2018, the Commission published its legislative proposal for the CAP post 2020. Linchpin of the Commission proposal is the implementation of a new delivery model: the Commission will set the objectives and Member states will decide which measures to adopt to reach these objectives. Member states will laid down a so called “CAP strategic plan” which will be assessed and approved by the Commission.

Concerning this new structure, independent winegrowers believe that a less “common” policy, as imagined by the Commission proposal, could lead to a distortion of competition among Member states and territories. Concerning the budget, the proposal foreseen a cut of 365€ bn for 2021 – 2027. In constant prices this would mean a 15% cut to CAP.

CEVI believes that in order to always meet agricultural challenges that Europe is facing, it is essential that the CAP budget (direct payment and rural development) is stable by amounting to constant euros. Agriculture cannot be the adjustment variable of the EU budget.

The maintenance of the CMO specific measures, as asked to the Agricultural Commissioner by the European wine sector, is a good news. Although, independent winegrowers are perfectly aware that the overall cut will also affect the wine sector, of about 5%. Nevertheless, CEVI welcome the maintenance of the Wine NSPs (National Support programmes) that have proven to be useful and efficient tools for Member States to improve the competitiveness of their wine sector and contribute to the overall increase in competitiveness of European Union wines.

The WNSPs provide Member States with a consistent and tailored toolbox and appropriate budget enabling them to manage the development of the sector in a harmonised and consistent manner, whilst providing for a flexible and coherent approach across the EU.


The proposal will bring some changes for the wine sector. More precisely, concerning the system of the vine planting authorisations introduced in 2013. With the new proposal the Commission enable Member States with more flexibility in counting their annual planting authorisations. In fact, each Member States, will have the possibility to decide how to base its calculation: on the previous year (N-1), as required by the actual system, or to count on the basis of the first distribution on the 31st of July 2015. The ratio behind this change is to prevent the decreasing of the actual area planted with vines in some Member States (mainly Italy and Greece) and the consequent loss of market share.

Concerning grape varieties, the Commission proposal will introduce two major changes. The first one is to allowed Member States to classify the following – and previously banned – grape varieties: Noah, Othello, Isabelle, Jacquez, Clinton and Herbemont. More generally member states may classify varieties belonging to Vitis Vinifera or Vitis Labrusca and hybrids between Vinifera, Labrusca and other species of the genus Vitis. Today these varieties are only allowed for the production of PGIs wine, if the Commission proposal will be adopted, these varieties will be introduced as well in the PDOs wines. With the changing climate in Europe and throughout the world, independent winegrowers are perfectly conscious about the challenges that the sector have to face in the forthcoming years, but these changes deserve a deeper reflections.

In its proposal the European Commission foreseen as well the introduction of de-alcoholised and partially de-alcoholised wines and grapevine products.


Wine tourism

The socio-economic context has changed the typology and duration of visits: consumers are looking for quality products whose origins they know. Short stays several times a year are the new pattern.

CEVI had the opportunity to present the customised tourism package that an Independent Winegrower can offer. This model is perfectly consistent with the needs of European consumers and rural development. It enhances the value of the land, preserves the landscape, strengthens the bonds in rural territories and creates jobs and related services.

In Europe, however, wine tourism is obstructed by bureaucratic, administrative, fiscal and legislative barriers that only an ad hoc law could remove. Some examples: a) in Italy, winegrowers are not permitted to open the doors of their estates to the visiting public. They are required to form a limited liability company or train for one year in order to obtain membership of Agritourism; b) in France, there is clearly a barrier to the development of business, as a wine-producing enterprise may not exceed the ceiling of EUR 50,000 for its wine tourism turnover without having to change tax systems; c) in Bulgaria, without a restaurateur’s licence, providing customers with as much as a piece of bread to accompany the tasting is not permitted.

The European Parliament proved to be most attentive to our requests and will submit an oral question to the Council in the very near future. To reinforce the message, an event will also be planned at the European Parliament during 2019.