France reclaims top wine output crown: report

Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:35pm EDT
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MILAN (Reuters) - France has regained its status as the world's biggest wine producer, after having been overtaken by Italy last year, Italy's largest farmers' association Coldiretti said Friday.

France, with its expected 4.8 billion liter wine output in 2009, is set to surpass Italy, which is forecast to make 4.7 billion liters this year, Coldiretti said citing the French agency FranceAgriMer and Italian research published in July.

Italian wine output has slowed this year after farmers dug up vines, wooed by incentives under the European Union wine sector reform, farmers' research center ISMEA and wine industry body Unione Italiana Vini (UOV) have said.

Italy's harvest is set to be of a very high quality, however, Coldiretti said, chiming with comments from various winemakers who praised this year's grapes for their high sugar content.

(Reporting by Svetlana Kovalyova)

<p>A man runs in the vineyards near Castillon la Bataille, August 4, 2009. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau</p>