A Guide to French Wine History

Amarose rosé, as you may know, is a Provence style rosé. That means that Amarose is relatively dry and crisp compared to some other rosés, and, crucially, that its style originated in France. We’ve talked a lot about the history of rosé on this blog, but what about the history of French wine as a whole? France boasts one of the oldest winemaking traditions in the world, and the development of its industry from ancient times to the present offers a fascinating window into why the wines we drink today taste so good. It’s French wine history time!

Ancient Times

Though there is evidence of ancient Gauls cultivating wine grapes, French wine as we know it began in the 6th century BCE when Greek settlers imported the plant to France’s southern coast. There the plant flourished and wine was produced in the Ancient Greek style- with little regard for keeping white and red grapes separate, and often mixed with water to reduce its potency. When the Roman Empire came to prominence, French wine suffered from prohibitions on non-italian wines, but once Rome fell there was plenty of space for France to once again thrive. It is during this Roman period that Provence, the area where Amarose gets its style, gained its name

The Middle Ages

After a new economic paradigm was formed by the founding of Charlemagne’s Carolingian Empire, wine production in France boomed. Due to the importance of waterways in trade at the time, wine regions on the coasts and near rivers became vital to emerging French culture, and as alliances between medieval courts were formed and broken, French wine made its way to Scotland, England, and the Netherlands. As the Dutch built their trade networks into a primitive form of capitalism, the quality of french wine led to increased Dutch investment and became even more renowned and widespread.

The Modern Age

Following the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, French vintners led the world in refining and perfecting wine-making techniques. Production continued to boom and French wine enjoyed worldwide prominence until the mid 19th century, when a host of maladies brought over from the burgeoning American wine industry caused French vines to die in swaths. Thankfully, French vintners saved their livelihoods by planting hybrid vines- original french grapes bolstered by the genes of more resistant American stock. French wine history from then on is more or less a straight line of development, the vinters becoming more exact in their art and the production capacity steadily increasing. Whatever problems French wine might face in the future, they have proved themselves more than a match!

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