France: a nation saturated with art, architecture, beauty, history…and wine. Indeed, French wine is some of the most prestigious and delicious wine in the world. In honor of such a great country and industry, the Cellars Wine Club Blog has dedicated the first part in our new series “A World of Wine” to French wine.
Following the infographic below, please enjoy a brief history of the events surrounding the wines of France.
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The History of Wine in France
French wine holds a permanent place in the history of worldwide cuisine. Spanning a period of at least 2600 years, it was originally cultivated by Greek colonists from Phocaea, and was later refined by the Romans. Vineyards planted by the Romans grew in size, sophistication, and popularity, producing entire wine regions that survive to this day.
Throughout the Middle Ages, French wine regions nearly reached national distribution. Figureheads such as the Avignonese popes gave regions such as Rhone and Burgundy much praise, raising their status and promoting French wine across Europe.
As time progressed, the wine industry in France was heavily influenced by various sources, ranging from the Dutch to the Christian Church. Commercial trade and political factors played a large part in that influence. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the French Revolution wreaked near havoc on the wine industry and cast the nation’s wine quality into an unfortunate time. It was during that time that Napoleon’s Minister of the Interior, a man by the name of Jean-Antoine Chaptal, noticed this decline and stepped in.
As a result of Jean-Antoine Chaptal’s guidance, France waltzed into a golden era of wine. Regulations were instated, organizations were established, and the alcohol content was even increased through a process of sugar additives. A few centuries later, France is the biggest producer of wine on earth, creating over 7 billion bottles of wine every year. Grape varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Pinot noir are grown widely across the country, soaring into international acclaim and worldwide demand.
17 distinct regions in France are regulated by the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine. The INAO as it is often called, presents a strict criteria to each region and determines the status, or appellation, it will hold. Such regions are often well known, namely the famous Bordeaux, Champagne, and Burgundy regions.
The future of French wine is refined…sophisticated…award-winning…world renowned. An industry with such a history and culture, it cannot be denied that future centuries will be just as exciting, innovative, and delicious as the past.
More To Come…
If you enjoyed this visual and historical experience, keep your eyes peeled – the Cellars Wine Club Blog will be releasing three more parts to “A World of Wine”. Join us for the rest of the month as we tour the globe, one wonderful region at a time.
Next up? California.