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Imported wines harm local business

OUT OF every 10 bottles of wine Slovaks drink, at least six are imported.

Less than three years after Slovakia joined the European Union, wine imports have reached the level of the domestic production.

In 2006, Slovakia imported 300,000 hectolitres of wine - the same amount Slovaks produced, the Pravda daily wrote.

Slovak wine producers exported 70,000 hectolitres, thus Slovaks drank mostly foreign wine.

Slovak producers have lost the fight in the category of table wine, which makes up half of the wine consumed around the world.

"We were not able to put off imports of table wine which, for example, Spaniards offer for €0.25 per litre, which is less than Sk9," admitted the president of the Association of Producers of Grapes and Wine, Ľubomír Vitek.

In Slovakia there is no wine producer able to make wine for such a low price.

Vitek hopes Slovak consumers have had tasted enough foreign wines and will gradually turn away from them. In Austria, consumption of Austrian producers' wines decreased dramatically after the country entered the EU, but Austrians gradually returned to the domestic offerings.

But imported wines offer reasonable prices and attractive origins, so Igor Šarmír, the head of the trade section of the Slovak agrarian chamber, expects wine imports will only increase.

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