In 2012, France began the process of adopting the new European Union classification system of wine quality. Rather than the familiar four tiers of quality long used in France, wines now fall into one of three descending quality classifications.
Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP). This classification designates the highest quality of wine (although there is no guarantee). Wines produced in a particular AOP/AOC are subject to strict laws governing, for example, the geographical origin of the grapes, minimum alcohol level, the amount of wine produced per hectare, and methods of production (including the varieties and percentages of grapes used). About 50% of French wines fall into this category. Formerly called Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC ), a term that is still widely used.
Indication Geographique Protégée (IGP). These wines are subject to regulations about the geographic origin of the grapes and the amount of wine produced per hectare. This category accounts for about 30% of production of French wines and quality varies significantly. Formerly called Vin de Pays (VDP).
Vin de France. These wines can be made from grapes grown anywhere in France and, thus, neither the appellation nor the region is specified on the label. About 20% of production falls into this category and quality varies significantly. Formerly called Vin de Table (VDT).
The Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure (VDQS) wine category, which fell between AOC and VDP wines, was dropped; wines that would have fallen in this category were elevated to AOP wines or lowered to IGP wines.
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