|French Wine Classification
The French system of categorizing wines is the most comprehensive in the world and has been a model for wine laws in countries across the globe. All French wines fall into one of four quality classifications:
Appellation d'Origine ContrÔlÉe (AOC)
These are the highest-quality French wines. AOC refers to the wine's place of origin, as well as to the fact that wines from these specified regions are under strict federal controls. Things controlled include grape varieties, vine size and density, maximum yield, minimum alcohol level, and vinification methods.
Vin DÉlimitÉ de QualitÉ SupÉrieure (VDQS)
This is the second-highest classification and is used for only a small percentage of wines – generally those that are awaiting AOC status.
Vin de Pays
A vin de pays, which literally means "country wine," is one step higher in quality than a basic table wine (Vin de Table). Wines in this quality classification are controlled for the grapes' place of origin and for the amount of wine produced per hectare. A vin de pays region can be large or small.
Vin de Table
This is the quality classification assigned to an ordinary French table wine. The quality can vary greatly, and price is often not an indication of quality. Table wines can be blended from several different sources.