If France is a world reference in the wine market , and it produces enough to satisfy French consumption, wine lovers also like to discover foreign wines. Let's learn a little more about importing foreign wines into France .
France, the big name in world oenology
From the end of the Middle Ages, and until the 19th century, the French wine regions gradually established themselves as references in oenology throughout the world. Their success can be explained by their very early ability to produce quality wine in large quantities and on a regular basis. This regularity then allows them to perfect their winemaking technique from one year to the next, and to further increase their reputation.
Since Antiquity, France has established itself as the largest wine producer in the world (in volume of wine), and the export of wines and the trade of wines abroad began in the Middle Ages, towards countries which have not mastered, or not yet, viticulture.
Today, France has such a degree of mastery of wine making that foreigners are seduced. Furthermore, it is in France that we find such a wide variety of grape varieties and different terroirs, which makes it possible to produce very varied red wines, white wines and rosé wines, to appeal to as many people as possible.
Wine culture abroad
Around the world, no less than 6.8 million hectares of vines are cultivated, and 820 liters of wine are produced every second. If France is an indisputable reference, other countries stand out for producing quality wine in quantity. On the other hand, the largest vineyards in the world are not always the largest wine producers. Let’s find out some numbers.
With nearly 970,000 hectares of vines, Spain is undoubtedly the country with the largest surface area of vineyards . The country ranks 3rd in the world among producers, and has 14 wine-growing regions, more than 60 denominations of origin, and 1,250 grape varieties.
The second largest vineyard in the world with 875,000 hectares of vines, China does not use all of these vineyards for wine production, and a good part is devoted to table grapes.
Although it does not have the largest surface area of vines (700,000 hectares), the country is nevertheless the largest producer of wine in the world (60 million hectoliters per year). Italy has been cultivating vines since Antiquity, and we owe the development of vineyards in Europe to it.
History has greatly influenced grape production in Turkey, but today it is the 5th largest vineyard in the world (480,000 hectares). On the other hand, its terroirs are not renowned for their great wines, since 97% of production is intended for table grapes.
Grapes were imported late to the New World, and the first vineyards in the United States did not develop until the 16th century. 90% of the 440,000 hectares of vines are then distributed in California, a land suitable for viticulture. Using mainly grape varieties from France and Europe, wines from the United States are holding their own and winegrowers know how to offer quality wines.
Spread over 2,000 kilometers and 220,000 hectares, the Argentine vineyard is the highest in the world, with a record altitude of up to 2,500 meters. It was the Spanish colonizers, in the 16th century, who launched the cultivation of vines along the Andes Cordillera.
With an area of 192,000 hectares of vines, Portugal is the 9th largest wine-producing country in the world , with 11 wine-growing regions and 18 appellations. Porto and Douro are by far the most famous appellations.
With only 190,000 hectares of surface area, Romanian vineyards nevertheless rank the country 6th among wine producers in the European Union.
Importing quality wine into France
To be able to respond to very varied consumer demands and open up its field of tasting, France imports quality wines from various countries every year.
Figures for the importation of foreign wines into France
Each year, France exports more than 14 million hectoliters of wine, but it also imports nearly 7 million hectoliters.
The majority of these bulk wines (80%) are intended for a cubi, or bag-in-box, wine. Imported wine then comes mainly from Spain and Italy, countries which produce entry-level wine in very large quantities.
The success of foreign wines in France
If the importation of wine from European countries is not new, the importation of wines from the New World developed only around twenty years ago. The French then discovered wine from Argentina, the United States and Chile, but also from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
Although they have long used grape varieties renowned in France, winegrowers have diversified their production, and make foreign wines from typical native grape varieties (zinfandel, pinotage, torrontes, etc.). So many wines that offer new oenological experiences to the French, who ask for more.
If you are curious and a wine lover, let yourself be tempted by wines from around the world , which are enjoying growing success in France today.