Organisers of this year's Vinitech wine equipment fair, the largest in France, have said they remain upbeat despite current economic conditions.

Vinitech co-ordinator, Frederic Espugne, said at the fair opening today (2 December): "It's at times like this people realise they need to get together to exchange ideas and solutions."

Exhibitor numbers at Vinitech, held every second year in Bordeaux, are up from 600 in 2006 to 650 this year, largely boosted by the return of harvesting and wine press machine producers.

Other indications that all is not doom and gloom in the French wine sector included the unveiling of a luxury, leather bound barrel with a Swarovski crystal stopper, selling for EUR1,150, twice the price of a normal oak barrel.

Vinitech closes on 4 December.