Wine was one of the first things that man created, and it has held a special place in many cultures. The history of wine is also an incredible story of technical innovation, as man applied his intelligence to the problems posed by the first chemical reactions that he encountered: fermentation and oxidation. No one can know who made the first wine. The great classical civilizations of Greece and Rome traced it back into their prehistory, and built legends around its discovery. Ancient Egypt has left us wine lists and wall paintings. Indeed, the Egyptians recorded the vintage, vineyard and winemaker on individual jars of wine: the first wine labels.



During the Roman Empire, wine cultivation extended to such a degree that there was a surplus. Due to this, in AD 92, an emperor passed a decree stating that all vineyards outside of Italy be uprooted. This led to considerable losses and later, when replanting was allowed, vineyards were established in many European countries including France, Germany and England. The Middle Ages however, saw little progress in the field of wine cultivation.

It was only after 1200 AD that many of the French monasteries managed wine cultivation. The French nobility also owned and cultivated many vineyards. Later, as a result of the French revolution, the Church was not given any power in cultivating and maintaining the vineyards. In the 1800's, the French wine industry suffered yet again as the French vineyards were attacked by many diseases, principally phylloxera, which is a small insect that destroys the roots of the vines. This was a major setback to the wine production of France and continued to be so until about 1880, when replanting vines along with the grafting of European vines with American rootstock proved to be a good solution to the problem.

French wine also suffered economically due to the two World Wars which led to a drastic reduction in the quality of French wine. As a result of this, the Appellation d'Origine Controlee (meaning "regulated origin name") or the A.O.C was devised. The A.O.C outlined the standards and laws regarding modern wine production and aided in defining the grape growing regions as well as protecting the quality of wine production. The A.O.C was instrumental in redeeming France's reputation for wine production and also in determining the standards for quality and consistency within the wine market in France.

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