It is believed that grape vines were first cultivated by humans to make wine around 2500 B.C., in an area known as Caucasus (located within the borders of present day Turkey, Russia and Iran). From there, vineyards spread across Asia, Egypt and the Mediterranean, introduced to the rest of the world by the Phoenicians and the Greeks. By the year 80 B.C., the first vineyards had been introduced to France via the Romans, in the city of Burdigala (now Bordeaux). From then on, France has been known as one of the greatest wine producing regions in the world.
France has 13 distinct wine regions within its borders, each with its own soil, climate, wine making traditions, and specialized grape varieties. In each of these regions one can find the most beautiful cultures and cities located at the heart of a countryside of delicious food where wine takes centre stage.
France’s climate and types of soil vary greatly from region to region, a result of the country’s great geographic diversity; few other countries share this advantage. Three different climate regions exist: Maritime (found in regions of the Southwest including Bordeaux, Charentes and Loire Valley); Continental (farther inland and to the North, areas including Champagne, Alsace, Burgundy, Jura, Savoie and Beaujolais); and Mediterranean (including areas such as Rhone Valley, Languedoc, Roussillon, Provence and Corsica).
You could say that the French are old pro’s, as viticulture has existed for two thousand years in France. The intimate knowledge of the soils, climates and vines themselves collected across this period of time have allowed wine growers to continuously improve regulation and preservation of quality. From Vins de Tables to Vins de Pays and AOC wines, all production is controlled by qualitative regulations to ensure your drinking pleasure. Be sure to look for one of the following designations on your next bottle of vin de France:
VDQS (Vins Délimité de Qualité Supérieure) —
AOC in waiting, accounts for 2% of French Wines, subject to AOC standards.
AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) — very strict production regulations on geographic location, grape varieties, yield, etc. Accounts for 35% of French wines.
Vins de Pays — Recently created designation, less stringent than AOC regulations; vineyards have more freedom to be creative and explore. 15% of French wines.
Vins de Table de France — consistent aromas, often marketed under a brand name; considered entry-level. 38% of French wines.
Because of its diversity and rich winemaking history, there is always something new and unique to discover from the wine regions of France. Find out more by visiting
Discover the diverse range of grape varieties cultivated in France:
RED Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Cinsaut, Gamay, Grenache, Grolleau, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Pinot Noir, Sciacarello, Syrah, Tannat
WHITE Aligoté, Chardonnay, Chenin, Gewürztraminer, Marsanne, Mauzac, Melon, Muscat Blanc, Petit Manseng, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Rolle ou Vermentinu, Roussanne, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Ugni-Blanc, Viognier