Italy knocks France off top spot for wine production

PARIS - France was knocked off the top spot for wine production by Italy in the latest global figures from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, released on Wednesday.

Global wine production was up 2.0 percent on last year, to 275.7 million hectolitres (Mhl), although the organisation was still waiting for confirmed figures from China and Russia.

Italy regained first place, which it lost to France last year, with production of 48.9 Mhl, up 10 percent on 2014.

France grew by just 1.0 percent to 47.4 Mhl, way ahead of third-placed Spain on 36.6 Mhl.

Following the Europeans were the big wine-growers across the Atlantic: the United States (22.1 Mhl), Argentina (13.3 Mhl) and a record year for Chile, whose production was up 23 percent to 12.8 Mhl.

They were followed by wine growers from Australia (12 Mhl), South Africa (11.3 Mhl) and New Zealand (2.3 Mhl).

The report from International Organisation of Vine and Wine, based in France, said the global market was in balance, with enough to cover global personal consumption and use by manufacturers which use wine to make vinegar, brandy and vermouth.