Provisional figures issued by the French wine body Onivins predict yet another bumper crop this year.

Following on from last year’s huge crop of 58m hectolitres, Onivins say the 2005 harvest may well hit 55m hectolitres.

A spokesperson for Onivins confirmed that its studies had projected a harvest of between 54 and 55m hectolitres but was keen to stress that these were ‘provisional figures’.

Although the levels are not those of last year, the news will not bode well for the already-struggling French wine industry which is currently dealing with both falling exports and domestic sales.

Over-production in 2005 would exacerbate the streched notions of supply and demand which have already seen French winemakers demand crisis distillation for surplus wine made in 2004.

The record harvest in Australia this year is also likely to see increased export competition in major overseas markets such as the UK and US.

Written by Oliver Styles, and agencies