French Wine Classification & Labels

French Wine Classification & Labels

The information on a French wine label can be confusing if you don't know what to look for. It helps to know that the label focuses on where the wine comes from and not what grape varieties it's made from. Each label also carries a quality designation. The French system of categorizing wines has long been the most comprehensive and has served as a model for wine laws in countries around the world. As French winemakers make the transition to the new European Union system of wine classification, French wines now fall into one of the three quality classifications described below.

(Note: Under the former French classification system, there was a little-used quality level called Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure (VDQS) right below the top level. The EU system has no category corresponding to VDQS.)