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PARIS, Sept 8 (Reuters) - French wine production will rise to 45 million hectolitres this year, up 6% on 2019 when output suffered from harsh weather conditions but close to the five-year average, the agriculture ministry said on Tuesday.
Grape harvesting started particularly early in most wine regions, with a record in Champagne where it kicked off in mid August.
“This is explained by a spring which was the second warmest in 120 years and by a relatively mild winter,” the ministry said in a note.
Total wine output in Champagne was expected to be higher than in 2019, but the volume of wine carrying the official name of champagne is seen falling 21% to 1.7 million hectolitres.
Champagne producers have agreed to lower the volume of grapes to be harvested this year as they try to cope with a collapse in sales caused by the coronavirus crisis.
A hectolitre is the equivalent of 100 litres, or 133 standard wine bottles.
In first estimates released last month, the farm ministry had put total wine output in France this year in a range of 44.7-45.7 million hectolitres.
A worsening of dry weather prompted the ministry to cut its output forecasts for Burgundy, Beaujolais, the Rhone Valley, the Centre and the South-East, but these were more than offset by higher output expected in other regions, which benefited from rain last month.
In the famous Bordeaux region, wine output is expected to be close to last year’s at 5.4 million hectolitres, while it is seen gaining 12% in Bourgogne-Beaujolais to 2.1 million, despite a fall in Pinots.
In Languedoc-Roussillon, France’s largest wine region by far, output is tipped to rise 7% on last year to 13.0 million hectolitres, with many vineyards able to control mildew, a fungal disease attacking vineyards. (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide, editing by Gus Trompiz and Mark Potter)
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