The European wine growing cultural landscapes - a significant element for beauty, identity and economic value of the European landscape mosaics - are actually facing various difficulties: vineyards are abandoned due to high production costs and EU-compensation for vineyard "restructuring" (which often means: clearing of existing vineyards), the climate change with different impacts on harvests, erosion and production costs, and the increased international competition as well as reduced wine consumption on wine markets.
The current economic crisis does not make it easier. In the small wine villages and relatively unknown wine areas of VINCULT all these phenomena are even more accentuated, where landscapes are very important economic assets, guaranteeing their ecosystems, attractiveness and unique identification.
Nevertheless, these assets can be maintained, if local administrations, their citizens, and in particular wine and tourism SME cooperate (also in EU-wide networks) and find new solutions. Five partners (from Austria, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia and Spain) are already cooperating for years in the VINEST Network for Small European Wine Areas (www.vinest.net ), now enlarging to the Netherlands and Croatia, and focussing on landscape safeguarding and its valorisation.
The purpose of VINCULT is to allow the twinning municipalities of the network to intensify their exchanges in order to find together practical solutions, that can safeguard and valorise the partners' wine growing cultural landscapes. As overall objective this shall help the partner areas to contribute to a sustainable development like envisaged by the EU's Gothenburg Strategy and European Landscape Convention.