The history of French wine is as rich and illustrious as the taste of French wine itself. More often than not, when one thinks of good wine, French vintage comes to mind and is the clear preference of people across the globe. Wine from the Bordeaux and Burgundy regions of France are especially popular, where the oldest and largest vineyards can be found. However, today France boasts thirteen major wine-producing areas, as well as thousands of vineyards. It is no wonder that France has been dubbed the wine capital of the world.
The history of French wine can be traced back to before the Common Era, when the Greeks transplanted grapevines in the south of France, in what is Marseilles of today. Other historians and wine experts trace the roots of French wine even further back to the era of the Gauls, who are credited with inventing oak barrels for the transportation and more importantly the preservation of wine. French vineyards continued to expand during the Gallo-Roman period, when Charlemagne is said to have personally owned two vineyards.
The history of French wine then moves into the Middle Ages, when without any laws to regulate the growth of grapes, each region was free to use their own vineyard planting and growing methods. As a result, the quality of the grapes was erratic, as was the quantity produced in each area. Amazingly, some vineyards from the Middle Ages have remained intact and have continued to grow and produce grapes for centuries.
What has enabled the successfulFrench wine history to continue unabated across so many generations? The experts attribute the great diversity and excellence of French wines to the unique combination of soil, sun, rainfall, land slope, wind exposure, drainage, and altitude of each wine-producing region. In fact, it is said that two side-by-side vineyards can yield different produce depending on these factors.
Of course, no history of French wine is complete without the mention of champagne, produced in the Champagne region of France. This popular bubbly was created in the 16th century by Don Perignon and is well known for its sparkle and unequalled flavor. If you know something about French wine, you might be interested to know that champagne is comprised of 25% Chardonnay and 75% Pinot grapes. While there are many varieties of champagne, if you are looking to celebrate with the best of the best, be sure to serve Brut champagne on special occasions.