French wine: Will the 2009 vintage finally lift rotten sales?


From Champagne to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, vintners across France are breathing a collective sigh of relief. Thanks to favorable climatic conditions over the past 12 months, 2009 is expected to be an excellent vintage.

The news is raising hopes among France's beleaguered wine and spirits producers, who saw their sales drop a terrifying 25 percent in the first half of the year, as consumers cut back on the finer things in life amid the global financial crisis.