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UPDATE 1-France raises 2021 wine output forecast, still down 27% down on year

(Corrects percentages for Champagne, Burgundy-Beaujolais, adds published Charentes figures)

PARIS, Oct 7 (Reuters) - France’s farm ministry on Thursday raised its estimate of the country’s wine output this year, citing increased estimates for the Champagne, Bordeaux and Charentes regions, but it would still be down 27% on 2020 after frost and disease damaged crops.

In its latest monthly estimate, the ministry pegged this year’s wine production in France at 34.4 million hectolitres, up from 33.3 million forecast last month.

“The summer precipitation contributed to the enlargement of the berries in these basins,” the ministry said in a statement.

Almost all wine-growing regions were affected by adverse weather, although with varying intensity, the ministry said.

Total Champagne output was now seen falling 28% from last year, against an estimated fall of 36% last month. It would still be the lowest in 40 years, which could lead to reserves from previous years being used, the ministry said.

Vineyards in Champagne were severely hurt by heavy summer rainfall that led to the development of mildew fungus which attacks the grapes and causes the leaves to dry up.

In the Bordeaux region, output was now seen falling by 21% from last year, against an estimated fall of 25% seen last month, lifted by precipitation at the end of summer in the region.

In the Burgundy-Beaujolais region, hit severely by a mixture of frost, hail and disease, output was seen falling 51% from last year, an estimate revised downwards from a fall of 47% seen last month.

Wine output in Charentes was estimated to be down 11%, compared with a 21% drop forecast last month. (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide, editing by Gus Trompiz and Elaine Hardcastle)

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