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European wine makers lost out to southern hemisphere and US rivals last year as low harvests hit exports from the EU, new figures have shown.

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The top five EU exporters - Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Portugal - saw their share of world trade in volume terms in 2012 drop to 62.3% from 64.5% in 2011, the International Organisation for Vine & Wine (OIV) said late last week. The US' share jumped 2.5 percentage points to 28.2% while South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Chile and Argentina also benefited, OIV said.

Low output caused by vineyard reduction and bad weather was to blame, OIV said. Overall, the EU produced 10% less wine than in 2011, hitting 141.3m hectolitres, while France saw levels fall by 16.8% and Spain by 11.2%.

The figures also confirmed OIV estimates in October that said the global wine harvest will be the lowest in 37 years, reaching 250.9m hectolitres.

World consumption, however, showed a slight upturn, rising to 245.2m hectolitres. Consumption in France was up by about 1%, although the biggest growth was outside the mature markets: In China, consumption was up by 9%, OIV said.


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