France is one of largest wine-producing countries in the world. Its stock amounts to as much as 7-8 billion bottles.Wine is grown throughout the country though France’s best-known wine-producing regions are Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, Alsace, the Rhone Valley and Burgundy.
The Loire Valley is a charming,picture-perfect region lining the central stretch of France’s longest river,the Loire. This lush valley is the third largest wine-producing region in France and produces 69 different appellations. The term ‘appellation’ refers to the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system, a certification granted to wines and other food products by the French Ministry of Agriculture . The AOC classification is closely linked to the concept of ‘terroir’ and determines the grapes and wine making practices employed in the production of particular wines as well as the geographical regions limited to their output.
The Loire rises in the Cevennes Mountains near the Mediterranean region. It then traverses 625 miles (800 square km) past picturesque villages, verdant vineyards, fruit orchards, and stately castles before it reaches the Atlantic Ocean in the northwest. It is often said that were it not for the presence of the Loire River and its many tributaries, vines would not grow in the northern half of France.