PARIS (Reuters) – French wine production in 2023 is expected to be near the average of the last five years, with a favourable outlook in Champagne and Burgundy contrasting that in disease-hit Bordeaux, the French farm ministry said.

Overall wine output is projected to be between 44 million and 47 million hectolitres, a range that encompasses both the five-year average of 44.5 million hectolitres and 2022 output of 46.1 million hectolitres, the ministry said in a report on Tuesday.

A hectolitre is the equivalent of 100 litres, or 133 standard wine bottles.

“The situation in the different production regions is … contrasting,” the ministry said. “The Bordeaux and southwest regions are particularly affected by outbreaks of mildew.”

Frequent storm showers and hot weather during May and June created the conditions for mildew, which has meant production forecasts are tentative for those areas, the ministry added.

Falling demand for red wines, which are out of fashion with younger drinkers, prompted the government to offer producers aid this year.

Persistent drought meanwhile was expected to lower output in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the far south, the ministry said.

But the situation was favourable elsewhere, with the growth of grapes boosted by ideal weather during the flowering period and by rain at the start of summer, it said.

“In most wine zones production should be above the five-year average or near it,” it said.

Output was seen surpassing the five-year average in Champagne, where frost and hail caused limited damage this year, and also in Burgundy, despite some mildew cases, the ministry added.

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by David Goodman and Barbara Lewis)

FILE PHOTO: Bottles of Champagne are seen on display for sale in a wine shop in Paris, France, December 20, 2022. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier/File Photo