Top 10 Facts Any Wine Lover Should Know About French Wine

Between Bordeaux and Beaujolais, and Champagne and Chablis, where does one even begin to get their facts straight about the vast world of French wine? With so much to know about the world’s most prestigious wine country, who has the time to learn it all?

Fear not… the following 10 facts will take you from newbie to at least a novice in just a few minutes.

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10. French Wine is Known to Be the Benchmark For Which All Great Wines Are Compared

Many people know that France is considered to be the among the worldwide leaders of fine cuisine, but in the wine world, they are also used as the benchmark to which most fine wines are judged. 


9. The French Invented the Term “Terroir”

The term terroir is defined as “the environmental conditions, especially soil and climate, in which grapes are grown and that give a wine its unique flavor and aroma.” It was coined by the French when they discovered that wine expresses a specific quality relative to its geographical place of growth.


8. Thank Your Local Clergymen For Your Favorite Beverage

Back in the day, most of the vines and vineyards were owned and tended to by the Catholic church and monasteries. Today, when we want to celebrate a major victory by our favorite sports team, or when we feel the urge to splurge on an expensive bottle to impress a hot date, we know who to call… our old buddy, Dom Pérignon.   

But what many people do not know, is that Pérignon was a monk that was a pioneer of wine making techniques, many of which are still used today.


7. Wine Fraud is a Thing

Back in the early 1900’s so many people were trying to pawn off cheap wine as more expensive wine, that the French decided to make an entire system of wine rules and laws to try to regulate all the wine being produced (more on that system later).


6. France is First Among Wine Producing Countries

France produces approximately 8 billion bottles of wine each year, making it the leading producer of wine in the world.


5. France is Divided Into Three Parts

Both climatically and geographically, France is divided into 3 parts; Northern France, Southern France, and the Atlantic Coast. Each region has its own unique terroir, grape varietals and identity.


4. A Plant Eating Insect Almost Single-Handedly Ruined All French Wine

Back in 1860, a microscopic insect called Phylloxera nearly destroyed the entirety of France’s vineyards. Thankfully, however, the good ole’ USA stepped in and saved the day by offering our Phylloxera resistant root stock to graft their ailing grape vines onto. Still today, many of France’s wine regions are half of their original size before the outbreak.


3. There Are Six Big Players in French Wine

While the exact number may be debatable, there are anywhere between six and nine major wine regions in France. However, it is undeniable that the following six regions are the key players in France’s wine game…

  • Bordeaux
  • Burgundy
  • Champagne
  • The Loire Valley
  • The Rhone Valley
  • Alsace

Some of the other regions that many may consider to be key players are Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence. Also, there is the age-old debate of whether Beaujolais is part of Burgundy, or its own entity.


2. The Forming of the AOC Changed the Wine Game Forever

The French developed a set of laws and regulations called the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) designed to uphold the standards t

hat French wine became known for. Based on terroir and regional varieties, rules were put into place to ensure that all wines produced are what they claim to be, all of which are held to a clear set of standards. From table wine to the most prestigious of wines, you can rest assured that thanks to the AOC, you get what you pay for.


1. France Loves Ranking Things Even More Than I Do

Back in 1855 Napoleon III decided to unveil the mother of all rankings: The Médoc Classification of 1855. Based on wine reputation and prices, the best Chateaux were ranked from 1st to 5th Growths (Cru).

This classification has remained in place ever since, with only one notable edit… Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, which was originally a second-growth and advanced to a first growth in 1973 after much persistence from Baron Rothschild himself.

Coastal Wine Trail Through Southern New England

Connecticut is not the only New England state with vineyards to brag about. The Coastal Wine Trail includes the best vineyards of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

In all, 14 vineyards over the tri state area are the foundation for the trail. Passports are available for visitors to take with them to each of the vineyards to get stamped. It only takes six stamps for a visitor to win entry for a prize, but if you can manage to get 12 stamps, you are eligible to win the grand prize of a seven day Bermuda cruise.

Linda Cafferty, tasting room manager at Trevessia, one of the vineyards along the trail, says that “business has boomed” since the passports have been released in May.”

“The passports are a way to welcome visitors that may not have visited our unique urban winery otherwise”, says Cafferty.

Visitors have until December 31st to turn in their stamped passports, which can be picked up (and returned) at any of the participating vineyards. For more information on the Coastal Wine Trail, visit their website.


The Rising Popularity of the CT Wine Trail

With nearly 20,000 Facebook followers, the Connecticut Wine Trail has blossomed into a local summer tradition. Each and every summer the vineyards become increasingly popular, and the need to fill ones’ “CT Wine Trail Passport” becomes more of a goal. Their Facebook page offers updates on new wines, upcoming events, and up-to-date news involving the wine trail.

A typical Facebook post from the CT Wine Trail

A typical Facebook post from the CT Wine Trail



Gouveia Vineyards. One of the most popular stops on the tour.

Gouveia Vineyards. One of the most popular stops on the tour.


If Twitter is more your speed, then follow @ctwinetrail for tips on how to get the most out of your visit to the Connecticut Wine Trail. Though not used as frequently as their Facebook account, the tips are helpful reminders for all of the do’s and don’t’s while touring the wine trail.

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Finally, by using the #ctwinetrail on Instagram, you can follow all of the happenings at all 33 of the vineyards. Instagram is perhaps the most convienent way for you to stay on top of what is happening on the Connecticut Wine Trail. Not only can you see photos and videos that each of the vineyards posted, but you can also see photos and videos that all of the visitors have posted. These photos tend to give you a better understand of the atmosphere at each of the vineyards because they are simply from a visitors perspective, and not “staged” photos that the vineyards choose to share with their followers. Instagram offers an accurate portrayal of the day to day happenings at each of the establishments.

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The good, the bad, and the ugly are all on display on Instagram, and if you want to get a true sense of what the average visitor to each of the vineyards experiences, then Instagram is one of the best platforms.

Whether or not you are a local planning your next stop on the CT Wine trail, or a tourist looking to learn about the wine trail, and map out your journey, social media is the best way for you to hear about each of the vineyards from an unbiased, “average Joe” perspective, and can often give you as much, or more information than the website itself.

For more information on the CT Wine Trail, visit their social media pages, or go to their website at