France is one of the countries mostly associated with wine and what is more important not just with wine as a beverage, but wine as a culture. Due to its long history of winemaking and its exceptional attitude towards wine France is considered to be one of the main winemaking and what is more important wine tasting countries. The Greeks were the first to make wine an element of their life, later the Romans adapted it and spread wine all over Europe; finally the French perfected this attitude and made it a sophisticated culture. For centuries France was at the forefront of worldwide wine industry, but today its history is more of a drama rather than a success story. Globalization and the spread of wine production technologies allowed other regions to bring their wine production to a whole new level and in lots of ways surpass France just like the early Gaul inhabitants of Southern France surpassed the quality of Roman wines many centuries ago.
It is well known that Greeks made the architectural plans and the Romans laid the basement of modern winemaking; France turned it not just into a building, but into a luxurious estate. Greeks were the first to start improving the taste and quality of their wines, first to add wine into their culture and first to introduce viticulture and winemaking in the south of France 2600 years ago. 500 years later the Romans granted the people in Southern France the right to produce wine and some 200 years later they surpassed the Romans in the quality of wine. They were first to introduce wooden barrels instead of amphoras for transportation and started cultivating grapes that could survive in a cooler climate outside southern France. Eventually they spread viticulture to the territory of modern Bordeaux, but at the end of the first century the emperor Domitian ordered to destroy most of the vineyards in France for the sake of Roman wine. But after 170 years another Roman emperor restored the French right to produce wine and French winemaking began its rise to glory.
After the fall of Roman Empire the Church overtook the protection over wine as it was a crucial and sacred element in various holy rituals including the most important – Eucharist. For the next thousand years the Church would be the bearer of winemaking, making wine itself more than an attribute of a certain country or empire, but rather erasing the borders and making it a common thing for all the religious inhabitants of Europe. Numerous monasteries took the burden of producing and improving the sacred beverage. The contribution of these small communities was immensely huge, because their almost religious passion resulted in the invention of many types of wine (including such as Champagne), developing new types of grapes and improving many winemaking technologies. While the center of the Church was still in Vatican (not for long by the way), it was France that became its first and most powerful agricultural and winemaking power.