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''We are glad to hear that Brussels has given up plans to authorise the blending of red and white wines to produce rose' wine,'' Italian Agriculture Minister Luca Zaia said on hearing of the decision by European Farm Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel.
''This is the Europe we want, one based on the respect of identity, quality, food safety and tradition,'' he added.
''The reversal of a reform proposal, which would have marked the end of a product rich in history and quality like that of rose' wine, was made possible above all thanks to a concerted effort by Italy and France, two nations united by a common passion for wine and the culture which surrounds it,'' Zaia said.
''We will continue to work with commitment and conviction to build a real Europe, one which does not give room to surrogates or imitations but which protects and promotes its quality agro-food heritage and wealth,'' the Italian minister concluded.
Spain joined Italy and France in their strong lobbying to have the EC reverse its decision to lift a ban on producing blended rose', in which a small amount of red wine is used to color white wine.
Traditional rose' obtains its color by allowing the juice of crushed black grapes to remain in contact with the skins, which contain natural pigments, before fermentation begins.
In explaining her decision to backtrack on the reform, Fischer Boel said ''it's become clear over recent weeks that a majority in our wine sector believe that ending the ban on blending could undermine the image of traditional rose''.
''It is important that we listen to our producers when they are concerned about changes to our regulations. I am always prepared to listen to good arguments and that is why I am making this change,'' she added.
France, Italy and Spain are Europe's three biggest producers of rose' and Europe produces some 75% of the world's rose' wine.
Europe is also responsible for about 75% of the rose' consumed worldwide with France the biggest consumer followed respectively by the United States, Spain, Italy, Germany and Britain.
Rose' accounts for 8% of worldwide wine production.
by S. C.
10 june 2009, World News > Italy