The French have bestowed the ultimate honour on wine this month, as they have graced it with National Heritage status. How did this come about and what does this tell us about French contributions to the luxury wine market?
As far as your average wine critic goes, France is the centre of the universe. A country steeped in viticulture, the French have been producing top quality luxury wines for centuries, and the country today is the home of the infamous Champagne; arguably the most luxurious product in the wine world.
So at Ideal Wine Company, we know that France is perhaps the most skilled maker of wine in the world, that’s why we feature so many bottles on our product list. But why have our neighbours across the channel gone as far as to award it heritage status?
A National Treasure
This week news leaked to wine buffs everywhere that the French Senate, the upper house of the country’s legislature, has decided to award wine with National Heritage status. The vote in the Upper House was unanimous and basically they did it because wine is, and always has been, a vital part of Francophone culture.
This is because wine has been there at every step of French development. You can use it to chronicle the country’s rich and diverse historical landscape. It was brought over by the Romans, survived through the dark ages through monastic cultivation, rose to international prominence in the 19th Century, as the French Empire did, and so on and so forth.
However the French Senate’s unanimous decision to bestow the status wasn’t actually entirely altruistic. There were greater forces at work and they were entirely commercial.
Protecting Your Assets
The legislation was passed in order to provide more effective protection for the sector so that it cannot be hit by any anti-alcohol legislation that may crop up in the future. It was actually first introduced Roland Courteau, a politician who originates from the Languedoc-Rousillon region.
He commented on the move to the French newspaper, La Depeche du Midi. He stated that “Wine will no longer by viewed as a commonplace alcoholic drink…wine is now shielded from attacks and cannot be devalued in the future.”
At the Ideal Wine Company we can see why the French would do this. The authenticity and quality of French wine has made it such a hit with luxury bottle enthusiasts, that to devalue it could derail their entire wine market.