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Bordeaux is important to the world's winelovers not just because it makes great wine but because it makes a lot of wine. The vineyards total around 100,000ha (247,000 acres) - bigger than the whole of Germany. Califor-nia's North Coast region - taking in Napa, Sonoma and other counties -has a mere 30,000ha (75,000 acres). The 1980s and the early 1990s saw a big increase in the yield per hectare, and thus the amount of wine made from these vineyards: the figure of
6,000,000hl - 67,000,000 cases of wine - was regularly exceeded. The first time 4,000,000hl was made was in 1979. This is all appellation controlee wine - only a small amount of non -AOC wine is made within the Gironde area.

Four bottles of bordeaux wine in five are red: this ratio has altered markedly since 1970, before which date there was regularly more white wine made than red.

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