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French producers of wines

There are hundreds of wine producers in France ranging in size from the “industrial” to the small farm producing only a few barrels per year. The sheer breadth and variety of French wine and its producers means that special systems have been developed to control quality, the French are understandably picky about the quality of their wines, their traditions and their reputation.

France was the first country to apply the “Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée” system, starting in 1935, this is usually abbreviated to just “Appellation”. The French system has been copied in many other countries, though none are as strict as France.

Under the Appellation system wine is divided into four classifications: two table wine groups and two other groups for quality wines produced in specific regions (QWPSR).


Table wines are: “Vin de Table” which specifies just the producer and the fact it comes from France; and “Vin du Pays” specifies the region as well, but the wines have less restrictions than the AOC category, but they do have to be subjected to analysis and tasting.

The other pairing is the QWPSR (Quality Wine Produced in a Specific Region) wines: VDQS (“Délimité de Qualité Supérieure”) is mainly used for wines from smaller or less well-known regions; while the ultimate AOC (“Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée”) specifies a wine from a particular area with a great many restrictions including the methods used to produce it and the grape varieties used.

In addition “Appellation” defines the regions in which wine has a certain character so every wine label must have the name of the region from which it comes – except Vin de Table. Although as time passes the number of Vin de Table wines being produced has been going down.

So, in general, the exact producer for a wine should be less important than the Classification and Appellation.