France regains top world wine producer spot

France this year returned to its position as the world's top wine producer with an estimated output of 45.7 million hectolitres, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) said Thursday.

France thus took over the top spot from Italy, which had been the biggest producer since 2007. Italy's production for this year is an estimated 45.5 million hectolitres, according to OIV figures.

"The world economic crisis has not spared the vitivinicultural sector, particularly wine consumption. In 2009, we experienced stagnating production with an overall decrease in demand," said OIV head Federico Castellucci.

The 2009 world viniculture production, at close to 268 million hectolitres, is almost identical to 2008 levels, according to figures from the intergovernmental organisation, which has 43 member states.

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