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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

European Union to Sell More Than 18.3 Million Gallons of Wine for Biofuel Production

The European Union has put more than 18.3 million gallons of surplus wine up for bid to make bioethanol. The move comes during a continued agriculture crisis for the EU, which is trying to come to grips with over production of wine in the region.

The wine is stored in France, Italy, Spain and Greece. The EU is accepting bids until Sept. 10. France, Italy and Spain are the largest producers of wine in the EU, which has been discussing proposals to remove vineyards to cut back production. The wine producers have faced stiff competition in recent years from wineries in America, Australia, South Africa and South America.

To eliminate the surplus, the EU Parliament has made several payments to wineries to distill wine into industrial alcohol. A major political battle is expected later this year when the EU debates reform of farm policies regarding vineyards and the elimination of crisis distillation practices. Some winemakers argue that instead of paying to rip out vineyards the government should pay for marketing programs to sell more European wine on the world market.

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