France's wine harvest starts amid worriesof over-production

24th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

MARSEILLE, France, Aug 23 (AFP) - France's wine harvest got underway Monday in the south-eastern Provence region as the country's growers struggle to beat back competition from abroad, the Provence wine industry association announced.

MARSEILLE, France, Aug 23 (AFP) - France's wine harvest got underway Monday in the south-eastern Provence region as the country's growers struggle to beat back competition from abroad, the Provence wine industry association announced.

This year's nationwide harvest is expected to yield up to 5.7 billion litres of wine - enough to fill 7.6 billion standard wine bottles - a figure that has producers worried about over-production and a glut on the world market.

France's wine industry is struggling to overcome fierce competition from "New World" producers in the United States, Chile and Australia, as well as a drop in domestic consumption due to health concerns and drink-driving laws.

Last month, the government announced a radical change in the wine labelling system from 2006, allowing wine growers to mark bottles of Bordeaux and Burgundy according to grape variation (Cabernet or Merlot, for instance).

The change is aimed at luring foreign buyers who, mystified by the dizzying centuries-old French system of categorizing wine purely according to region, have turned to "New World" wines with simpler labels.

Wines from Provence, which ranks fourth in France in terms of production, are currently sold under the appellations Cotes de Provence, Coteaux varois and Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence.

The region's growers produce 156 million bottles of wine a year - 71 percent of them rose, 24 percent red and five percent white.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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