For centuries France has been known for producing some of the best wines of all the global suppliers. Since the best grapes used in wine making grow within 20 or 30 degrees above and below the equator, France has one of the best growing opportunities for wine grapes. Add to that the years of experience and French wines have long been sought after for their pleasant taste and the sparkling personality of its champagne.
Until about 1990, France was known as the largest consumer of its own products but the per capita consumption of French wines has been decreasing steadily in the past 20 years. Except for champagne, exportation of the wine is what help growers and wineries maintain their position in the wine producing industry. As recently as 2005, French wines still accounted for the most wine produced, leading second place Italy by slightly over 70,000 metric tons of wine.
Despite a 22 percent market share, French wines ranks third in export of wine, behind Italy and Spain. During the first years of wine production, most of the wine made was consumed in its own region. Bordeaux, Bourgogne, and Burgandy remain as offering some of the best French wines produced and are now exported, buy many independent wineries are making in-roads in the local market.
As with wines from many areas, names of French wines are based on either the location of the wineries or the area in which the grapes are grown. For example, Bordeaux wines are made in Bordeaux, France or of grapes grown in that city. Although some of the vines have been imported into other countries and the wine produced from those grapes may also be referred to as Bordeaux wine.
Several movies in the mainstream media have depicted the processes of making French wines, including one in which the lead character, who comes from a wine making family, longs to begin his own vineyard. Due in part to the films and television shows, there is romance often associated with French wines and the surge of imports into the United States as well as it being exported to many other countries, has made it a hot commodity.
Reading the label on bottles of French wines should indicate the part of the country in which the wine was made as well as the name of the winery and vineyard. Most labeling requirements determine what is on the label and includes the designation of independent wine makers that are not associated with many of the larger, better known commercial companies.