Pedro Barato, president of the Spanish young farmers' association Asaja, has stressed that the proposed changes to Spain's wine regulations should include a provision which would allow the authorities to impose hefty fines on companies found guilty of illegally planting vines.
Barato said that the threat of large fines was the only way to put an end to the indiscriminate planting of vines and the subsequent rises in production - all of which are undermining Spain's ongoing efforts to focus on quality rather than quantity when it comes to wine production in a bid to lift export sales.
Speaking at a conference earlier this week, Barato said he supported the proposed changes to the law, adding that any vines found to be illegally planted should be pulled up immediately. He called upon all of Spain's autonomous regions to implement the practice with greater efficiency and rigour.
According to a report by Europa Press, Barato said that the fines imposed should be in direct proportion to the number of illegally planted vines, in line with the first draft of the new wine law which suggested imposing fines of €3,000 per hectare every six months.
At the same wine industry conference, Manuel Lamela of the Ministry of Agriculture said that the proposed new wine regulations could also include clauses which would limit companies' access to subsidies if they produce too much wine, another measure designed to reduce the large quantities of poor quality wine being produced.
"The idea is not to restrict the sector but to put in place the foundations for the sustainable development of the wine industry," he told the day-long conference, adding that the draft law could get the green light for its final reading in parliament very soon.
Lamela told journalists at the conference that the limitations on the amount of subsidies winegrowers could obtain would be specific to each market and not imposed on the sector as a whole, adding that it would be necessary for both the public and private sector to reach a consensus over which particular areas and what particular production levels should be targeted.
The new wine law is designed to harmonise the various pieces of legislation covering the Spanish wine sector, as well as tighten the regulations on unfair competition in the sector, improve the protection of Spain's denominations and the quality of its wines, as well as bringing greater transparency to the way in which the various Consejos Reguladores manage their denominations.
While the new law would not change the current structure, dividing the industry into its various denominations, each with its own Consejo, Lamela said that it would give greater protection to wines which are not part of the DO system - the majority of the wines produced in Spain - by introducing new categories of wine to give greater added value to the product and improve both profitability and exports.