World

Italy is once again the top wine producer after bumper harvest; drought hits Spain hard

FILE - This is a Monday, Oct. 26, 2015  file photo of the  vineyards of the prestigious Cheval Blanc  in Saint Emilion, western France. Saint-Emilion is one of the principal red wine areas of Bordeaux along with the Medoc, Graves and Pomerol.  The European Union's farm federation assessed the 2015 grape harvest and said Wednesday Nov. 4, 2015 that excellent weather in many member states had pushed up production by 2.7 percent.(AP Photo/Bob Edme, File)

FILE - This is a Monday, Oct. 26, 2015 file photo of the vineyards of the prestigious Cheval Blanc in Saint Emilion, western France. Saint-Emilion is one of the principal red wine areas of Bordeaux along with the Medoc, Graves and Pomerol. The European Union's farm federation assessed the 2015 grape harvest and said Wednesday Nov. 4, 2015 that excellent weather in many member states had pushed up production by 2.7 percent.(AP Photo/Bob Edme, File)  (The Associated Press)

Italy is the biggest wine producer in the world this year after a bumper harvest, pushing France back into second place. Spain has been hit by drought and further saw its output drop.

The European Union's farm federation assessed the 2015 grape harvest and said Wednesday that excellent weather in many member states had pushed up production by 2.7 percent.

Thierry Coste, an expert with the Copa-Cogeca federation, noted "good yields and quality, partly as a result of the better weather conditions." Production rose to 171.2 million hectoliters from 166.7 million hectoliters last year.

Much of eastern Europe shared in the good results. Spain, though, saw its production fall to 40.6 million hectoliters this year from 53.6 million hectoliters the year before. Italy's production totaled 50.4 million hectoliters.