>> New European rules are pruning the ambitions of Italian winemakers. I'm Reuter's reporter Isla Binnie in Nipozzano, Central Italy. Italy's winemakers want to extend their businesses and take advantage of a strong export market. The winemakers want to plant more vines, but there are now limits on the area which can actually expand within the whole country.
And according to rules which apply across the entire European union, they can't expand by more than 1% a year. Lamberto Frescobaldi, who produces around 10 million bottles of wine a year on this estate and six others across the region of Tuscany, asked for some 50 hectares of land this year and was only given a tiny fraction of that.
>> We have to find our planting rights in a different way. We have to acquire, maybe, vineyards that they are not really suited for that kind of quality. So pull them out and plant them again.>> He's not alone, of the more than 160,000 hectares that the Agriculture Ministry was asked to authorize this year, it was only allow to rubber stamp about 6,000.
Now, producers say part of the reason for the boom in requests is the success of the Italian wine market, which is being led by still and sparkling white wines from the north. Which is tempting some landowners to try and convert land currently being used for seed crops to be used for wine grapes.
Exports of Italian wine have been booming for several years and are expected to grow even further this year. Some analyst expect around a 6% rise, which would take the overall turnover to around $6 billion euros. Now, Brussels was trying to make the system more fair and flexible by introducing the new rules.
But the Italian winemakers say that the system just isn't working very well here.