Introduction to French Wine History
How French wine came to be a worldwide phenomenon
The popularity of French wines in the USA and
elsewhere is not new. As a matter of fact. this popularity is
much older than the US itself.
French wines were
introduced to this country by the early French and English
settlers. Since then, they have been the best known and most
liked table wines in America and around the world.
The ships carrying
cotton and other American goods to England and France brought
back, on their return trip, casks of great Bordeaux and great
Burgundies. In those times the wine was often shipped when still
The crossing of the
ocean took much longer than now and it is a fact that sea-travel
ages wine more rapidly. The rocking of the vessel. perhaps the
saline quality of the air. and probably many other undetected
factors, contributed to a quicker maturation of the wine while
the boat all sails flying was ploughing across the ocean.
When the wine was
unloaded, the wine merchant or the "connoisseur" who had ordered
it, tasted the wine and, depending on how matured it was, kept
it in cask for the shorter or longer period of time necessary to
make it ready for bottling.
Once bottled, it was laid down in the cellar
for years, until it had reached its peak.
Glass Wine Bottles
Since the invention
of the mechanical process of glass-making, by the end of
the 19th century, French wine has been shipped worldwide, mostly
in bottles. French wine history is intricately related to this
The means of
transportation which have become so much quicker and the
scientific progress which has helped to make sturdier wine have
contributed, since then, to the reduction of the prices and to
the enlargement of the varieties of French imported wine.