French appellations body, the Institut National des Appellations d'Origine (INAO), has raised the limit on Champagne production yields.

The INAO has ruled that the region's growers can produce 15,500 kilos a hectare of grapes, up from 13,300 kilos.

The decision has to be ratified by France's Council of State in the spring in order to allow its implementation for the 2007 harvest.

Champagne trade body, the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), welcomed the yield increase and said it should lead to the building up of a reserve of quality grapes.

In the year to 31 October, Champagne sales totalled 321m bottles, up 5.2% on the corresponding period a year earlier.