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Italy overtakes France as world’s biggest wine producer

Italy is again set to become the world's largest wine producer country in 2015, overtaking France, after better weather ensured a bigger harvest than in 2014.

Italy is likely to produce 48.9m hectolites from the 2015 wine harvest, equivalent to 6.52bn bottles, which would see it re-claim top spot as the world’s biggest wine producer ahead of France, the International Organisation for Vine and Wine (OIV) said this week.

Better weather conditions during the 2015 growing season in Italy, particularly across northern areas such as Piedmont, mean that the country’s wine harvest is set to increase by 10% this year.

France’s wine harvest is estimated to show a 1% rise in 2015, to 47.4m hectolitres, equivalent to 6.32bn bottles.

However, in reality, both countries have spent the past several years seeking to reduce overall production of standard table wines.

Domestic consumption of wine is at an all-time low in both France and Italy, and producers have been keen to push a quality message in export markets. The European Union has provided compensation to entice unprofitable winemakers into grubbing up vines.

It has been a similar story for Spain, which is set to remain the world’s third largest wine producer in 2015 with estimated production of 36.6m hectolitres, equivalent to 4.9bn bottles and down 4% on 2014.

Outside of Europe, Chile is expected to see wine production rise by 23% from the 2015 harvest, to a record 12.87m hectolitres, or 1.7bn bottles.

Nearby Argentina is estimated to produce 12% less wine in 2015, at 13.4m hectolitres, or 1.79bn bottles.

The US, which the largest wine consumer nation, will remain the world’s fourth largest wine producer following the 2015 harvest, on an estimated 22.1m hectolitres – 2.9bn bottles – up by 1% on 2014.

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