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France loses wine title to Italy

Latest round of ongoing fight between the two countries sees Italy crowned the world's number one producer

FRANCE has lost the latest round in the fight with Italy for the title of world's number one wine producer.

New figures from the European Commission show Italian wine production grew slightly in 2010 and surpassed that of France, which is in decline.

Italy produced 4.96 billion litres last year, while France managed 4.62 billion. Sales of prosecco have overtaken champagne, at 420 million litres compared to 400 million.

However, France remains the biggest generator of revenue from wine exports. The French wine industry sold €6.33bn overseas last year, compared with €3.93bn by Italy.

France and Italy have fought over the top position in world wine for several years and the title regularly switches back and forth between the two countries depending on the weather conditions.

Spain is in third place and the United States fourth.

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