France to regain crown as top wine producer

France to regain crown as top wine producer
France is set to regain its crown as world's top wine producer. Photo: Jean Louis Zimmerman/AFP
With a bumper harvest predicted, France looks set to regain its crown as the world's biggest wine producer, according to estimates by an international wine body this week.

France is poised to reclaim the crown as the world's biggest wine producer, according to forecasts published on Thursday by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine.

With 2014's production forecasted to reach more than 46 million hectolitres, the home of the Burgundy, Bordeaux and Chardonnay would beat both Italy and Spain to the throne.

Italy is expected to produce just 44.2 million hectolitres this year, down sharply from the 52.4 million last year due to an unusually wet and cold summer.

Spain's output is expected to reach 37 million hectolitres this year compared to 45.6 million in 2013.

New World wine production meanwhile is expected to hold steady in the United States, reaching 22 million hectolitres while Chile is due to produce 10 million.

New Zealand is heading for its new record with 3 million hectolitres, said the organisation.

France's public agricultural authority FranceAgriMer predicted the 2014 harvest would yield six million bottles.

"After two years of excessively low harvests, we're getting somewhat back to normal … we see good prospects at the start of this harvest," said Jerome Despey, head of FranceAgriMer's wine division.

Production is due to be up in the Champagne region but down in Languedoc-Roussillon, an area that was blighted by drought in spring, then hail.

France suffered two exceptionally poor harvests in 2013 and 2012, which saw record-low production due to cool temperatures and excessive rains.

Some vineyard owners in famed wine regions like Bordeaux and Burgundy saw their harvests nearly wiped out by severe hail storms

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