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Horta ,  June 12, 2019

João Ponte announces applications for VITIS programme amounting to four million Euros

The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry announced today in Horta that the Government will open this year a new application period under VITIS - Support Programme for the Restructuring and Conversion of Vineyards with an overall allocation of four million Euros. The support is intended to further enhance the development of this sector, which has contributed to wealth generation, job creation and the progress of the Azores.
"In order to respond to the challenge launched by various industry partners, a hearing will be conducted on the VITIS programme with regard to support, application assessment criteria and beneficiaries' obligations with a view to ensuring the future sustainability of wine production," said João Ponte.
The government official spoke at the opening of the plenary session of the Assembly of European Wine-producing Regions (AREV), which is taking place for the first time in the Azores, bringing together representatives from several European wine-producing regions.
In his speech, he stressed that the holding of the event in the Azores is "a good opportunity" to raise awareness for the Azorean potentialities and specificities, but also to "share experiences and reflect on the common challenges of viticulture and wine production."
João Ponte pointed out that VITIS has already enabled the conversion of about 800 hectares of vineyards in the Azores with an investment of 21 million Euros.
"Most of this investment was carried out on the island of Pico and so, within a few years, this activity will have a significant influence on the local economy, playing a key role in generating wealth, creating jobs and contributing to the progress of the Region," said the government official.
The Regional Secretary pointed out that the numbers clearly illustrate this success story. In 2018, the production of certified wine reached 450 thousand litres, representing the largest wine production to be ever certified, and the quantity of wine eligible for certification is expected to exceed one million litres within two years.
According to João Ponte, the economic potential of this sector is not limited to the revenue from the sale of wine, noting that, in the particular case of Pico Island, Enotourism is an essential factor in terms of tourist attraction.
The Regional Secretary urged participants of AREV for joint efforts, stressing that the success of the vineyards and wine will continue to demand from those who produce, those who process and those who define the course of the sector a great deal of dedication, innovation and entrepreneurship.
"At an individual level, we are small to face what lies ahead of us, but if we work together, we acquire other relevance and the ability to influence decisions, and for that reason, unity is fundamental," said João Ponte.
The government official identified several important challenges, namely the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the 2021-2027 period as it will have direct implications in the wine sector. In this regard, the Regional Government has announced that it will be necessary to guarantee support for new vineyards, which is very important because these are areas not covered by VITIS programme. Moreover, the defence of the Designations of Origin and Geographical Identification to ensure the authenticity of the Azorean wines and the use of labelling as a tool to defend wines and "terroirs" are other concerns expressed by João Ponte.
The programme of AREV will be fully dedicated to the island of Pico on Thursday, starting with a visit to the "curraletas" (small stone enclosures) in the area of Criação Velha, municipality Madalena, classified by UNESCO as World Heritage Site. It will be followed by visits to the Wine Museum, A Buraca Wine Cellar, Pico Island Wine Cooperative and the Wine Interpretation Centre, where there will be a tasting of Azorean wines. The event will be also attended by Pico's certified wine producers and local entities.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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