(Paris) France should, according to initial estimates, become the world’s leading wine producer again in 2023 ahead of Italy, a “symbolic” performance and mainly linked to a less abundant harvest in Italy, AFP estimated on Monday a specialist in the sector.

French wine production “would amount (this year) to 46 million hectoliters, a level comparable to that of 2022 and 3% higher than the 2018-2022 average,” the statistical service of the French Ministry of Agriculture said on Friday. Agriculture, Agreste, based on estimates established as of October 1.

Italian production is expected to fall to around 43 million hectoliters, compared to 50 million the previous year, the main Italian agricultural organization, Coldiretti, reported in a press release on October 2.

“It’s a notable event because it’s symbolic,” Jean-Marie Cardebat, a specialist in wine economics at the University of Bordeaux, told AFP. Since 2007, apart from 2011 and 2014, Italy has retained its position as the world’s leading wine producer, according to figures from the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV).

“But it is purely cyclical”, the Italian vineyards having been particularly attacked this year by mildew, added the economist.

The main Italian agricultural union, Coldiretti, for its part, evokes a “meteorologically complex season which, between bad weather and heatwaves, reduced estimated national production by around 14%, with drops of up to 50% in South Central”.

Coldiretti was still hoping for an improvement at the beginning of October, believing that the “mild and dry” climate favored the quality of the harvest “thanks to the absence of humidity and the high temperature range between day and night”.

On the French side, “the situation of the different vineyards is contrasting,” underlined Agreste.

Production “is reduced in Bordeaux and the southwest by mildew and by heat waves and in Languedoc and Roussillon due to drought,” notes the organization. “Elsewhere, the situation is favorable, particularly in the Charentes. »

While global demand for wine has also “contemporaneously weakened, particularly from China”, the decline in Italian production “is rather good news”, because it should ease the pressure on prices, said Jean -Marie Cardebat.