France ties in 1st place with Italy as the worlds biggest wine producer by volume, although France is the largest wine consuming country.
France is not to be confused as the birthplace of wine as some might think however it holds a strong and special place within the market.
France has a geographical diveristy like no other country with natural conditions to produce an array of great and varied wines and is the centre of the global fine wine production.
The French pioneered appellation wine law in a response to the flood of fraudulent and adulterated wines that began to flood into France after WW2. The first AOC (appellation origine controllee) was for a wine from the Southern Rhone Valley, Chateauneuf-Du-Pape.
Appellation law gradually spread all over Europe, help other countries regulate wine production. Appellation laws cover the following topics in varying degrees of detail, Winemaking practices, Yields, Viticultural practises, Ripeness, Alcoholic strength, Permitted vine varieties and Production area. Above are links to the 13 wine regions of France, inside I will discuss the history, climate, grape varieties, production, AOC's and more about the region. Thank you for visiting thewineabout a place to discover and learn about our passion together
Starting at the very beginging, here is a brief overview of the history behind French viticulure and where it is today.
Southern France was introduced to the vine by the Greeks. We have the Romans to thank for spreading their knowledge all around France. Viticulture developed near trading routes in Southern France, eventually spreading North to Lorie Valley and Champagne. The were 2 important tradding routes,
1. Bordeaux, wine was sent west through the Garonne River.
2. Rhone Valley, wine was sent north through the Rhone River.
THE ROMAN EMPIRE
The Church influenced the spread of viticulture in France, their land ownership throughout France dominated the industry. Wine growing was also funded by churches to provide wine for mass.
Established wine trade between France and Enlgand. later extended the French to set up links with the Northern European citues. This is because at the time Bordeaux, today one of the most famous wine regions, was under goverend by the Enlgish.
Imported from North America.
Vine louse that attacks the vine from the roots, there is no cure. Grape growers all around France had to pull out their vines dead or alive. Grafting the resistent American rootstock on to the Vitis Vinifera was their only option.
1855 Classification system for Bordeaux's vineyards was established. Bordeaux already had copius wealth and this brought even more trade into the region particualry from French West Indies
France had been through 2 world wars, due to their circumstances vines were left unattended or poor care was taken in the vineyards. Quality dropped and large low quality Table Wine was flowing out of Southern regions like Languedoc Roussion. French wine suffered due to over supplying the market with inferrior products, competion against cheap imported wines and also imitations.
1930's The AOC Appellation Origin Controlle system was brought into place to combat the issues listed above. Regulations were put into place to ensure a quality product were going into the bottle and typifed the region it was coming from
End ofthe French Revolution. Churches and Monasteries throughout France had their vineyard holdings taken away. Burgundy a region famous for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay was effected by this change. Burgundy today is the most fractionalised wine region in the world. 2 reasons for this.
1. Churches and Monasteries stripped of their land
2. Napolionic Code, inheritence law. Average land holding in Burgundy today is so low only a tiny % of wine growers are able to make their own wine.
Please see the drop down menu under Wine Study for further info on individual regions
The French Wine Scholar Program (highly recommended)
WSET Advanced course (highly recommened)