France as a rich history with wine and it is unsurprisingly one of the most popular beverages in the country. With a history that spans over 2500 years, there is a lot to see and experience about wine in France and numerous famous vineyards.
French wine production has changed dramatically over the years for example once the Catholic Church was one of the leaders in wine production in the country. The first and second world war also had a dramatic effect on France’s wine production but they did also give France’s leading wine makers the change to reorganise and restructure the French wine industry.
Currently, France’s wine industry is a tale of two halves some manufacturers are seeing a boom in business while others are struggling to meet the needs of a more diverse array of customers. Yet France is still the second largest country when it comes to wine production.
And despite the troubles France, on the whole, is still the most famous and popular country when it comes to wine. While there has been a decline in annual wine consumption sales have remained steady and actually increased in 2017. France is also unsurprisingly one of the most popular exporters of wine as well.
French Wine Classes
If you’re ever visiting France or simply want to see what French wine you can find locally it’s important you know what you’re buying. So, let’s look at the classifications you need to know about. It can be a little complicated to work out everything you need to know but we can break it down into a few main terms.
Grand Cru – This is the highest classification of French wine and it means it has come from a prestigious establishment and is of high-quality.
Premier Cru – Similar to the above this classification means the wine has come from a high-quality vineyard.
Vin De Pays – Think of this as country wine there is a lot more variety when it comes to these wines some are very expensive and high-level while other might be more cheap and basic.
Vin De France/ Vin De Table – This classification is used to label the more basic and inexpensive French wines.
There is a lot more to wine classification than just these terms when it comes to French wines but many of the terms outline the region/ location the wine is produced in. If you just want to know how luxurious or high-quality the wine you’re choosing is the above terms are what you need to look out for.
Now let’s look at the importance of location, shall we? Like many countries, France’s wine industry can be split into regions with some unique wines being exclusive to certain areas. The south of France, in particular, is quite famous for its wine but let’s look at some of the names to watch out for.
One of the most popular wine regions in France Bordeaux is also one of the most historic and it was at one time the main supplier for the UK. And wines from the Bordeaux region are still incredibly popular in the UK, due to its large size the Bordeaux region also uses its own unique classifications for some of its most popular wines like Saint Emilion vineyard wines.
The Champagne region is found in the North of France and as the name implies Champagne or sparkling wines are the most popular variant of wine in this region although you will still find a lot of variety. Some of the most popular brands from this region are Moët, Chandon, and Taittinger.
Provence is not one of the most well-known wine making regions in France but is a favourite amongst rosé wine lovers. However, you will still find a large selection of different wines from the Provence region including reds and whites.
Côtes du Rhone
Côtes du Rhone is home to one of the largest vineyards in France at over 200km in size! Many of the wines available in this region also offer their own unique taste and are made in a similar style to Mediterranean wines and they are made using different grapes. Budget wines from this region have also been quite popular.
So, that’s a small look into France’s wine industry there is a lot more to explore and see but if I was to talk about it all this article would likely never end. France’s wine industry is diverse and has taken inspiration from many other countries to grow and expand in a variety of ways. So, if you like wine or are looking to get started with some of France’s finest there is plenty to explore.