French wine production hit by heatwave

Unfavourable weather conditions hit the flowering of the vine

Wine production in France this year will be down by between six and 13 percent over 2018, notably because of the ongoing heatwave, the agriculture ministry said Saturday.

France, one of the world's top wine producers and exporters, was hit hard by poor weather conditions, including a heatwave at the end of June.

That and other factors meant that production should be between 42.8 and 46.4 million hectolitres -- the lowest figures in the last five years, said the ministry, based on estimates drawn up on July 12.

Unfavourable weather conditions hit the flowering of the vine, particularly in the western wine regions of France, such as Val de Loire, Charente, Bordelais the wines of the southwest.

In southern France, the heatwave broke records, with temperatures in some places as high as 46 degrees Celsius (115 degrees Fahrenheit).

The heat damage meant lost production in three regions: the Gard, Herault and Var, the ministry added.

Hailstorms also affected some vines but they did less damage nationally.

Another heatwave has been forecast for most of France in the coming week.

France, along with Spain and Italy, is one of the world's top three wine producers and exporters, according to industry figures released last week.