Excellent grape harvests in both France and Italy this season seem certain to provide more fuel for the current French-Italian "wine war".
LV Wine shop in Paris with wine on display in window (shots)
SV INTERIOR People buying bottles of wine and leaving shop with purchases (2 shots)
SV French wines on display shelves
SV TILT UP SHOWING Italian wine and champagne on shelves (shots)
SV Sign "Reims"
GTV Dark grapes being harvested in Reims vineyard (5 shots)
GTV White grape harvest in Italian vineyard near Rome (5 shots)
CV White grapes tipped into crusher and down chute (2 shots)
CU Bottling machine and newly filled bottles coming off and being packed and stacked for export (3 shots)
CU Bottles of champagne and other wines in storage cellar in Paris
CU Two Frenchmen sipping glasses of red wine
Senior government officials say the worst hit areas of Italy will be the Puglia and Sicily regions in the already impoverished south.
The furore created by the two countries over their wines seriously affected the European Economic Community. The spacial Commission formed to settle the dispute has been unable to come up with a solution acceptable to all sides.
It was hoped that the Community's latest agricultural crisis would be alleviated by nature after record grape harvests in 1973 and 1974. But although levels this year won't break any records, they are high enough to ensure a large surplus in both France and Italy.
Initials CL/1700 0930/1100/1719
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Excellent grape harvests in both France and Italy this season seem certain to provide more fuel for the current French-Italian "wine war".
Despite some damage to crops in the south of France caused by violent hailstorms last month, the French harvest has generally been a bumper one. Growers are already speaking of producing some of the "great wines of the century".
In the Reims area, in particular, production levels are expected to be near records.
Italy has been no less fortunate. Vineyards on the outskirts of Rome are reaping perfect grapes after a magnificent summer.
But the wine-growers task will probably not end with crushing and bottling this year.
The battle between the French and Italian Governments over taxes on cheap Italian wines being sent to France is still raging.
Because the value of the Italian lira in French francs dropped by almost 30 per cent in the past year, Italian wines grew progressively cheaper.
Imports to France increased sharply from 99.2 million gallons in 1974, to 128.2 million gallons in the first seven months of 1975.
As a result, French growers have been on a rampage since last spring .. demanding action from their government and the resignation of Agriculture Minister, Christian Bonnet.
The French Government's reaction was to slap a 12 per cent tariff on imports of cheap Italian wines, a move the Common Market Agricultural Commission duly branded as illegal.
The import tariff almost caused a trade war between the two countries. Italian Ministers threatened to strike back at the flow of French meat and dairy produce into Italy.
The Italians see the French action as monstrously unfair, since the balance of trade in the agricultural sector is markedly in France's favour.