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French Wine Prices Rise, Led by Jump for Whites, on Harvest Drop

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Dec. 24 (Bloomberg) -- French wine prices are climbing, led by a jump in the cost of whites since August, after vintners in the country had their lowest production in more than 40 years, the Agriculture Ministry reported.

The price for bulk white wines without a geographic or varietal indication jumped 34 percent to 67.82 euros ($89.63) per 100 liters (26.4 gallons) last week from 50.70 euros at the start of August, data from crop office FranceAgriMer show.

France’s wine production slumped 20 percent to an estimated 40.7 million hectoliters in 2012 after weather damage and disease caused the harvest to plunge in the Champagne and Beaujolais regions, the ministry reported last month.

“At the start of the campaign, prices increase for most wines compared to 2012,” the ministry wrote in an online report today. “It should be pointed out that red and rose wines make up the majority of all wines.’

The cost of bulk reds and roses without geographic or varietal indication rose to 64.62 euros per hectoliter last week from 54.83 euros at the start of August, according to FranceAgriMer data.

Prices of red and rose wine with a protected geographic indication and mention of the grape variety climbed to 76.02 euros per hectoliter from 74.16 euros at the start of the season, while for white wine with the same criteria the cost has jumped to 86.02 euros from 84.33 euros.

Trade in red and rose wine amounted to 492,000 hectoliters last week from 354,000 hectoliters the previous week, while 186,000 hectoliters of white was traded compared with 142,000 hectoliters a week earlier.

‘‘The start of the campaign is lively,’’ the ministry wrote. ‘‘The transaction volume of bulk wine with a protected indication of origin increases strongly from a year ago.’’ The volume of red and rose traded since the start of August totaled 2.68 million hectoliters, while 1.06 million hectoliters of white was traded, FranceAgriMer data show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net