Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What does "Product of France" Mean on a Wine Label?

The most recognized wine growing regions of France, the AOCs, are closely controlled. A winemaker cannot just claim to be from Burgundy. "Vin de Pays," making up nearly 35% of all French wine, means that the wine is from a specific region, but not one of the specially recognized AOCs. What this means, in essence, is that the grapes have likely come out of several unidentified vineyards within one region.  "Vin de Table" or "Product of France" wines have even less distinction, the grapes sourced from anywhere within the country (including Uncle Henri's backyard!).

In U.S. terms, we're talking about the difference between "Napa Valley Wine", "California Wine", and "United States Wine" on the bottle. You get the point, I hope.

While you risk quality when purchasing a wine that reads "Product of France" on the label, we are not suggesting you avoid French wines without the AOC distinction. As we constantly remind ourselves, and our readers: if the wine tastes good to you, it's a good wine. Period. And, at their lower price points, these wines are often worth the try. By understanding the labels, you will make better informed choices, and, hopefully, find greater pleasure in your wine selection.

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