Arguably the most important wine producing country due to it's vast influence on today's wine styles. Driven by a concept of terroir, French vineyards are planted based on what's best suited for the local soils and climate.

It has a vast variety of climates, leading to wine styles becoming synonymous with each other, such as Pinot Noir & Burgundy, as well as distinct difference between regions (e.g. Chardonnay from Champagne is vastly different from those of Burgundy)

There are seven primary wine-producing regions in France: Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Loire, Provence, and the Rhone Valley comprise the dominant French wine regions

French Wine Exploration Map | Wine Folly
Image taken from Wine Folly

Burgundy is the epitome of terroir, with wines coming from different subregions having it's own particular character.

While Bordeaux is well regarded for wines produced within specific districts or communes, many of its wines fall under other, broader appellations. These include AOC Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur and the sparkling-specific Crémant de Bordeaux


AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) indicates the geographical origin, quality and the style of a wine. Within the AOC label, you also have Grand Cru & Premier Cru distinctions.

Bordeaux's Grand Cru classification is based on the chateau the wine is made at, while for the rest of France, it is based on the vinepard plot.

Bordeaux's Premier Cru classification denotes the highest tier within a Granc Cru classificatoin (e.g. Premier Grand Cru Classe), while for the rest of France, particularly Burgundy, is based on vineyard plot

There are 3 major cru classifications for Bordeaux: The 1855 Grand Cru Classe, Graves classiification, and the Saint-Emilion classification. For Burgundy, the classification also includes regional & village appellations

Vin de Pays is the equivalent of IGP, similar to a regional wine. It is base on geographic origin

Vin de France is the most basic quality tier for french wines.