RAIN KEEPS FALLING IN FRANCE. The torrential rain afflicting northern Europe has left French vineyards at risk of losing much of the 2OO7 vintage from rot and mildew, with Bordeaux one of the worst-hit regions standing to lose 9O% of its crop. According to the Bordeaux Met Office, six inches of rain fell in May, over two inches in June, and July saw about the same. Certain regions, such as Lesparre Medoc and Premieres Cotes de Blaye received up to four inches in June. The damp, combined with intermittent days of warm, sunny weather, created ideal conditions for mildew, a fungal parasite which started in the leaves, moved to the sap and has since spread to the grapes. Once brown rot appears on the grapes, there is very little anyone can do. The southern Graves, where there are high levels of humidity, has been worst affected with a few vineyards losing virtually their entire crop, but the problem is being seen all over Bordeaux, especially affecting the merlot and semillon grapes. Problems have also been reported in Beaujolais, the Loire and the Rhone valley. Conversely, Australia is suffering through a devastating drought that has significantly affected crop output. As the grape shortage grows prices are expected to rise heralding an end to the days of bargain Australian wines. Global warming rears its ugly head again.