HISTORY OF FRENCH WINE
What first comes to mind at the mention of France? Eiffel Tower, wine and Champs Elysees. Variations are possible, but “wine” is always present. For the French themselves, wine has long become an integral part of lunch and dinner, not to mention the festive feasts. But was it always? Let’s see.
The Romans, who conquered the territory of Gaul in the 1st century BC, played a fundamental role in the development of winemaking in France. Although the Gauls initially favored Brahe, they were subsequently able to appreciate the taste of the wine. The disciples were very intelligent, and soon the Gaul wine was known far beyond its borders. It was the Gauls who invented to store wine in oak barrels, which were not only easier to transport than amphoras, but also improved the taste of the drink. Now the wine could compete with the wines of Italy. The success of French winemaking was not prevented even by the “monopoly” methods of the emperor Domitian, who in 96 ordered to cut down part of the Gallic vineyards. But justice prevailed, and the new emperor Probus gave the French the right to engage in winemaking in full scale. Thanks to the development of the Christian faith, in part of the rites, which required wine, winemaking also developed. And in the XII century, French winemakers exported to England, Flanders and Germany.
The 19th century was not the best in the history of wine production in France. The development of the railway led to the destruction of vineyards in the north of the country. But it was nothing compared to the damage that phylloxer brought. This little bug came from America, destroyed almost the entire vine. If it were not for grafting of the French vine to the American counterpart, resistant to phylloxera, France’s winemaking would have sunk into oblivion. Many winemakers could not recover, because this blow was followed by a new one – World War I and poor harvests. Revival came only in the 40s of the XX century.
Today, the area of French vineyards varies about 900 thousand hectares, the number of produced brands of wine has long exceeded ten thousand. Each of the seven wine-growing regions is famous for its traditions: Provence, Languedoc-Roussillon, Bordeaux and Burgundy, Rhone Valley, Loire Valley, Alsace and, of course, Champagne.