The first signs of a disappointing European wine yield this year have emerged from French producer Chateau Rouquette. But while Britain's farmers battle with a rain-sodden summer, the French producer claims its problems are being caused by too much sun. Michael Banton, owner of the St Emilion-based producer, said 2002 had been unusual for its dryness and variation in temperature. It is now waiting to see what affect the unfavourable conditions have had on yields for its celebrated Merlot. "There was little rain in the winter and this has followed through into the summer," said Banton. "There may be water controls introduced which is a very unusual situation, and this has been compounded by swings in temperature that have invalidated the normal development of the grapes." Banton said some local vineyards had lost up to half their crop. "Roquette has not been too badly affected but it seems likely the yield will be lower than last year," he added. "Hopefully, this will be compensated for by the quality." {{DRINKS }}