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Planting right

Name for a temporary right to plant vines for an agricultural area. It is regulated in detail in EU regulations and in the wine laws of the EU member states. Previously, limited planting rights were allocated to each member state. This was intended to guarantee a stable and balanced development of the vineyards and prevent unbridled growth. After individual member states had almost completely exhausted their planting rights, these were traded on the free market. In the course of the reform of the wine market organisation, the EU Commission proposed in 2008 to phase out the system, as the cost of a planting right is a competitive disadvantage for European winegrowers compared to producers in Australia, California and South Africa, where planting rights are unknown. The 2009 EU wine market regulation therefore stipulated that planting rights would expire from the beginning of 2016.

After only two years, many countries realised that unbridled planting in the EU has major disadvantages. In addition, the European Union had spent more than 1.2 billion euros to grub up around 160,000 hectares of vineyards during the three-year grubbing-up campaign from 2008 to 2011. Without planting rights, there would have been a risk that these areas would have been replanted. Many countries have therefore called for the reintroduction of planting rights. A commission that was set up determined the following: As of the cut-off date of 31 July 2012, the EU member states had 296,141 hectares of free planting rights, which means that areas under vines could be expanded very quickly. Furthermore, a very different interpretation of the regulations in the individual countries was noted. This resulted in the need for a new uniform system.

In December 2013, the EU bodies agreed on a "new authorisation system for vine planting" as of 1 January 2016. Each planting operation requires an authorisation. A distinction is made between planting "with" and "without" prior grubbing up. Similar to the old replanting right, a holding may replant to the extent of a grubbed-up area. However, this is tied to the operation and must take place within three years. The rights cannot be transferred or traded. Planting out without prior grubbing up is subject to an annual limit of 1% of the total area (in Austria this is a maximum of 450 hectares).

Planting rights already approved ex old system can be converted into a permit. The criteria for the allocation are defined by the EU and offer possibilities for the selection of certain groups such as young entrepreneurs, organic farms, planting in naturally disadvantaged areas, planting in steep or terraced areas or land consolidation measures. The member states of the European Union must define the desired ones and coordinate the allocation of land in their country (source: Der Winzer 5/2014. See further information on wine law under Wine Law.

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