French winemakers will turn unsold stock into hand sanitiser.

Wine glass

Wine glass

Companies were left with litres of unsold wine due to the coronavirus lockdown, which will now be distilled for the production of hand sanitiser and ethanol.

Didier Josso, head of the wine branch at farming agency FranceAgriMer, said at a video conference: ''From tomorrow, 33 licensed distillers will be able to collect the wine and distil it.''

The alcohol distilled has been reserved only for the production of hand gel.

Josso added: ''The distilled wine in no case is to be used to make spirits.

''There will probably be a need to stock ethanol as well, but the volumes will be less significant than for wine.''

Other wine-producing countries, such as Spain and Italy, have been forced into similar measures.