French wine crisis to worsen with bumper harvest

12th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 12 (AFP) - Another bumper grape harvest is likely in France this year, further aggravating the crisis in the country's wine industry, professionals warned Tuesday.

PARIS, July 12 (AFP) - Another bumper grape harvest is likely in France this year, further aggravating the crisis in the country's wine industry, professionals warned Tuesday.

Barring extreme weather conditions between now and September, the harvest is set to produce around 54 million hectolitres (1.19 billion gallons) -- only slightly down on last year's record production of 58.8 million, according to the National Wine Interpressional Bureau (ONIVINS).

A large part of the 2004 output remains unsold and France has won authorisation from the European Union to convert 1.5 million hectolitres of top quality 'appellation' wine into spirits via distillation.

The world's biggest wine producer, France is under mounting pressure to reform its industry because of declining consumption at home and intense competition abroad from new producer countries like Australia and Chile.

Excluding champagne, French exports fell by 13 percent in money terms and 13.2 percent in volume in the first quarter of 2005 compared to the year before.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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