The Range of French Wine
The scale of French wine
Regulating French Wine
Appellation d'Origine Controlee (AOC)
Vins Delimites de Qualite Superieure (VDQS)
Vins de Pays
Vins de Tables
Special Wines
Reading a French Wine Label
The Wine Trade In France
The Language Of France
The Essentials Of France
Vins de Pays Zones
Vin de Pays Regulations
The Future of Vins de Pays

Each area has its list of permitted grape varieties, selected in the case of zonal vins de pays from a departmental list. In some cases maxima and minima of certain varieties are laid down: a minimum of 10 or 20% of "classic" grapes is sometimes stipulated to add flavour and distinction to other, less characterful, varieties.

Yields are controlled, though at quite high levels: 80hl/ha is normal for zonal vins de pays, though some set limits of 70hl/ha. Departmental de pays allow 90hl/ha - twice yield of a top AOC.

Quite strict analytical standards reapplied: these measure the minimum natural alcohol, the volatile acidity and the sulphur dioxide levels. A sample of wine from each vat is tested. A panel then tastes each bath before registering the wine as being up to vin de pays standard.

Labelling regulations forbid the use of the words "Chateau" or "Clos" - these are thought to belong to AOC wines - but "Domaine" is allowed. Unlike most AOCs, vins de pays can be labelled with their grape variety, and this is sometimes the main name used on labels.

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