New EU wine definition threatens Silesian industry

It’s been a long time since Polish wine producers have experienced so much official interest in their craft. A few days ago, EU agriculture ministers discussed a proposal for wine market reform that was presented by the European Commission in July. It concerns a new wine definition that excludes spirits based on fruit other than grapes. Now the Ministry of Agriculture in Poland is working on a new resolution which would guarantee subsidies for grape seedlings of about 40-75 per cent. And the Ministry of Finance has announced that that Polish law will be soon adopted to EU standards which help small wine producers.

In Poland, a traditional wine has been produced from apples for ages. Now that the new wine definition seems almost certain, the Polish wine sector is threatened. That’s why more emphasis may be placed on growing grapes in Poland. Vice Minister of Agriculture Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski has convinced the EU that in this part of Europe, because of climate conditions, grapes are not grown. However that is not quite true.

In Silesia, vineyard traditions are very old. Silesia is an area with great potential for wine sector, and a growing number of vineyards in southern Poland will be the hope of the Polish wine market if the EU wine definition and restriction are adopted.

Marek Jarosz, vice-chairman of the Polish Institute of Grapevines and Wine, will encourage Silesians to set vineyards and renew the tradition of grape growing. In Silesia Voivodship, more than 30,000 hectares of land are considered ideal for grapevines. Almost every piece of land south of Czestochowa is suitable for viniculture. Currently, there are about a dozen vineyards in Silesia. Soon there may be many more. Upper Silesia has many hillsides with the southern exposure to the sun that is very advantageous for grapes. And for some specimens with frost-resistant roots – Moldavian muskats or American mixes, for example – the Silesian climate is the best. Vineyards can also be a tourist attraction, like in Austria, where almost every house keeps a private vineyard.

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