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French wine is produced throughout France, in quantities of between 50 and 60 million hectoliters per year, or 7–8 billion bottles. France is one of the largest wine producers in the world, along with the Italian, Spanish and American wine regions. French wine traces its history back to the 6th century BC, with many French regions dating their wine history to Roman times. The wines produced range from expensive wines sold internationally to modest wines usually only seen in France, such as Margnat wines during the postwar period.
Two central concepts for the best French wines are the notion of terroir, which links the style of wines to the places where the grapes are grown and the wine is produced, and the Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) system, replaced by the Appellation d ‘Origine Protégée (AOP) in 2012. Appellation rules strictly define which grape varieties and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France’s hundreds of geographically defined appellations, which may cover regions, villages or vineyards.
France is the source of many grape varieties (such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Sauvignon blanc, Syrah) that are now planted all over the world, as well as wine making practices and styles of wine that have been adopted in other countries productions. Although some producers have benefited in recent years from rising prices and increased demand for some of the prestigious wines of Burgundy and Bordeaux, the French wine industry has seen a decline in domestic consumption and, internationally, has had to compete with many new world wines.