The French Ministry of Agriculture predicts that inclement weather and disease-damaged raw material may bring down wine production in the country by 20% to 40.6 million hectoliters from 50.9 million hectoliters in 2011.

Cold and wet conditions damaged vineyards during flowering, grapes in Burgundy and Beaujolais were destructed in hail storms, heat wave in August and lack of rains in September resulted in smaller grapes, reported Bloomberg citing a report by the ministry. Vineyards were also damaged due to mildew and funguses.

The current production forecast, which is the lowest in 40 years, is lesser than 42.9 million hectoliters predicted a month ago and 46.7 million hectoliters estimated in July.

The news agency has quoted the ministry report as saying "All the categories of wine will see their production decline compared to 2011. Production estimates are particularly tricky this year due to the variation in grape weight in most of the vineyards."

Champagne will be the worst affected with 40% fall in production due to frost and attacks by mildew and oidium, the report said.

France has been the biggest producer of wine in the world.