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French wine is produced in several regions throughout France, in quantities between 50 and 60 million hectolitres per year, or 7–8 billion bottles. France has the world’s second-largest total vineyard area, behind Spain, and is in the position of being the world’s largest wine producer losing it once (in 2008) to Italy. French wine traces its history to the 6th century BC, with many of France’s regions dating their wine-making history to Roman times. The wines produced today range from expensive high-end wines sold internationally, to more modest wines usually only seen within France.
For hundreds of years, France basked in the reputation of being the world’s greatest producer of wines. Today, that reputation is being rivalled by other wine-growing nations on four continents, and the French wine industry is facing new challenges. Since the low of 2003, the French wine industry has been trying to reinvent itself, producing new wines for a changing world and European market, while continuing to provide the world’s greatest wines, produced on estates with perfect conditions and centuries of winegrowing tradition. For those who know how to choose, and know something about wines, France still offers some of the greatest wines, with the greatest variety, and – yes ! – excellent value for money, even from the main wine areas.