The French wine harvest is expected to produce just under 50m hectolitres of wine, the lowest production level since 2003, says the French agriculture ministry.

The ministry revised its figures earlier this month following an original prediction in July of 51.2m hl (hectolitres). The current estimate now stands at 49.9hl, 2.4m hl higher than the 2003 harvest, which was greatly affected by summer heat waves.

Although bad weather this year has been partly responsible for the drop in production levels, the agriculture ministry says there will be a 23% drop in Vin de Table production due mainly to the continued program of grubbing-up vines in south France.

The production of appellation wines is expected to fall 2% this year.

However, the ministry did confirm that the change in estimate between July and August is due to the recent bad weather. Officials say that further bad weather could continue to reduce the crop, threatening to reduce overall yields to 2003 levels.

According to weather services Meteo France and the UK’s Met Office, further bad weather is expected to sweep through the country this week. Bordeaux and Burgundy are expected to be hit by rainstorms tomorrow afternoon, and much of the country is expected to experience downpours on Thursday.

Written by Oliver Styles