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European Community (Surplus Wine)

Volume 23: debated on Monday 10 May 1982

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what progress is being made towards finding other outlets for surplus grape products; (2) whether, in view of the fact that grape must is in Community agricultural surplus and molasses is in deficit, he will seek progress on the proposal to use concentrated grape must as a subsitute for imported molasses in animal feed applications.

We are pressing the European Commission to consider alternatives to distillation for disposal of surplus wine. A possible outlet is the use of concentrated grape must as a replacement for molasses in animal feeds, and practical trials have recently been commissioned by British Petroleum, as a producer of industrial alcohol, and my Ministry. It is hoped that initial results will be available within three or four months and we will be passing these on to the Commission.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the disposal plans for the 385,000 tonnes of wine alcohol which will be held in stock in France and Italy on completion of the present exceptional distillation of wine authorised by EEC regulation (701/82).

The French and Italian authorities have in the past bought up wine distillates on a national basis and it is believed that their stocks were about 330,000 tonnes in July 1981. Disposal of these stocks is a matter for the countries concerned.The exceptional distillation authorised by the Council Regulation 701/82 was for 6ยท5 million hl of wine, equivalent to 50,000 tonnes of pure alcohol. Normally the distiller would be responsible for disposal of the resulting distillates but he has the option of delivery to intervention agencies of distillates above 86 per cent. alcohol. Intervened distillates would be disposed of by the agencies, following the procedure agreed by the Council and the Commission to safeguard the market in ethyl alcohol.