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French 2014 grape harvest is 'good'

France’s vineyards are expected to produce more than six billion bottles of wine this year

AFTER two miserable harvests, the French wine industry has predicted 2014 will be a “good” year.

FranceAgrimer predicted that the harvest is expected to yield about 45.4million hectolitres. That amounts to more than six billion bottles.

It is less than the 46.4million hectolitres predicted by the Ministry of Agriculture last month - but is not a final figure, and is up on the last two years’ harvests.

It does not include, for example, predicted figures for some regions, such as Languedoc-Roussillon, where the harvest has barely begun and will continue into October.

And the weather could still affect the final number.

But the industry is still looking forward to a better year. "After two years of excessively low harvests, we're getting back to normal," said Jérôme Despey, head of FranceAgrimer’s wine division.

Relatively cool nights and average daytime temperatures during the summer have contributed to the improved harvest, Mr Despey said.

The wine industry is mourning the death of Philippine de Rothschild, the “grande dame” of Bordeaux wine and part-owner of the Chateau Mouton Rothschild vineyard, who died aged 80 at the weekend.

The only daughter of racing driver and banking heir Philippe de Rothschild, she enjoyed a 30-year acting career under the stage name Philippine Pascal before taking over the family estate after her father's death in 1988.

She was made an officer of the Legion of Honour in 2007.

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