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French wine production up on last year

Total French wine production in 2009 is expected to total more than 48m hectolitres, a rise of 5.2m hl on the volume produced in 2008, according to the latest forecast by the French agriculture ministry.

However, production in 2008 was the lowest in 10 years and the projected volume for 2009 is actually down by 2.9m hl against the average annual production for the five years to 2008 (50.9m hl).

More remarkably, it would be almost 14.9m hl less than the volume produced in 1999 (62.9m hl).

Based on estimations recorded in July, the ministry’s predictions for 2009 include 23.5m hl for wines of ‘appellation d’origine protégée’ (AOP) and 16.9M hl for all others.

A remaining total of 7.7m hl is predicted for wines used in the production of Cognac and Armagnac.

These overall figures hide quite different local trends. Production is forecast to fall compared to 2008 in the regions of Alsace, Champagne, Charentes, Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence.

Meanwhile, the ministry also predicted a significant drop in total sales of 2008 IGPs and table wines.

Sales of table reds and rosés are forecast to fall by 23%, and table whites by 17%, while sales of IGP reds and rosés are expected to be down by 14%, and IGP whites by 4%.

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Written by Graham Tearse in Paris

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