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French wine output tops world table

France is back at number one after two years behind Italy

FRANCE has regained its title as the world's biggest wine producer, overtaking Italy, according to a new study.

The International Organisation of Vine and Wine estimates French production this year at 46.2 million hectolitres - the equivalent of 6.16 billion 75cl bottles and up 10 per cent on last year.

Italy had been world leader in the annual study in both 2012 and 2013 but output fell 15 per cent this year to 44.4 million hectolitres, putting it in second place with Spain in third.

French and German wines generally fared well from this year's weather, while vineyards in eastern Europe suffered.

France made €7.8 billion from wine exports last year - and the 2014 vintage looks promising so far.

The Burgundy winemakers' union, BIVB, says its production levels this year were back to normal after two disappointing harvests.

US wine production was the biggest growth area, now occupying fourth place in the world ranking at 22.5 million hectolitres.

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