AOC: Appellation of French Wine

Monday, April 30th, 2007 at 12:00 am

The production of French wine is governed by a system of standards which is the Appellation d’origine contrôlée. It is translated as "term of controlled origin". It is a system that was initiated in 1935 to protect the highest quality producers of different food products. Consequently, the AOC is not limited to wine but is also the standard by which meat, butter and cheese get their highest quality marks.

This system focuses on the land, the grape varietal, the amount of yields, official tastings, winemaking practices and vitacultural practices. When a type of wine is given the AOC designation, it essentially counts out the winemakers and vineyards which produce low quality blends and products.

This designation also enables these winemakers to be separated from those other low quality products and excludes these from using the names of the higher quality vineyards on their labels. This ensures that the wine which is designated by the AOC is a wine which is of high quality and taste. This appellation is the highest distinction that can be given to a food product.

The origin of the organization AOC can be traced back to the 15th century when Roquefort was managed by a parliamentary decree. The first modern law was set into place on May 6, 1919 when lawmakers passed the Law for the Protection of the Place of Origin which specified the region and geographical area that a particular product must be produced in. This particular law has been revised many times ever since that law was passed.

On July 30, 1935, the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO), which is an extension of the French Ministry of Agriculture, was formed in order to administer Boiseaumarie, who was a trained lawyer and winegrower from Chateauneuf-du-Pape. He was able to conveniently acquire authorized recognition of the "Côtes du Rhône" appellation way back in 1937. The seal that the AOC uses was crafted and mandated by the French laws in the decades of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. It was during July 2, 1990 when the scope of the work of the INAO supplemented to include other agricultural products beyond wine.

It is important to note that AOCs differ greatly in size. There are those which cover extensive areas with an assortment of climatic and soil features, while there are others which are quite small and highly consistent. The INAO assures that all of the AOC products will be held accountable to an exact set of clearly distinct standards.

The AOC emphasizes that all products which have the AOC seal will be carefully and consistently produced in a manner that is characteristic of the quality that follows with that appellation. After being produced in these areas, the products must be appropriately aged in their designated areas.

For the wine connoisseurs, if they have AOCs on their wine, they are sure to be of the highest quality and standards. It is important that the AOC maintains these standards in order to produce the best wine in France.