The freedom to grow grapes

Two Hills Vineyard – Sauvignon Blanc Block

For us Australians in Victoria it is somehow unthinkable that we would consider to ask government for permission to plant a vineyard or to plant vines. My native Germany, however, is very different in this regard.

Recently I found a news story about a village in Saxonia, named Grosspoensa, which had planted about 1,000 vines near a re-naturalised open coal mine, now flooded and used as a lake.

In 2006 the village government had requested the planting rights for 26 ha from the higher level government. But because the village is not located inside the classified Saxonian wine region therefore this request was denied and planting rights were not granted.

Two Hills Chardonnay

Nonetheless the village planted 0.3 ha with vines disregarding the higher governments rejection in 2008. The plan was to rent out the small vineyard parcels to hobby vintners. Now the vines had to be removed again. The state ministry of environment and agriculture ordered the removal. Also a fine was imposed (3,700 EURO). The village tried to negotiate and a second fine of 4,800 EURO followed.

The villagers were outraged that they had to pay twice and to pull out their young vines. The European Wine Market Regulation, however, specifies what punishment illegally planted vineyards entail for the planters.

Well, European bureaucrats seem to manage the wine industry along the lines of an old fashinoned Leninist central planning scheme. Why do they not trust the market and the people exchanging goods through voluntary transactions?

Pip’s Paddock Chardonnay

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