“AOC” is the French abbreviation for “Appellation d’Origine Controlee”, which means “Appellation of Origin Control”. It is the highest level of the French wine grading system, lower than the AOC level are the excellent regional table wine (VDQS), regional table wine (VdP) and daily table wine (VdT). This is a grading system set up in France to regulate winemaking. Different grades have different legal requirements in terms of origin, cultivation and winemaking methods, and the higher their grade, the stricter the regulations.Since 2012, in order to align with the EU’s uniform standards, France has changed its grading system to three levels of “Protected Designation of Origin (AOP), Regional Table Wine (IGP) and VdF”, replacing the AOC with the new AOP label. They are both Protected Designation of Origin labels with strict requirements on grape varieties, minimum potential alcohol content, maximum yield, cultivation methods and winemaking methods. However, because of the far-reaching impact of the original grading system, many winemakers and wineries today continue to use the original terms AOC to label their wines. AOC wines must be made from grapes that come from the AOC appellation on the label, and the wine must be made from varieties that follow the AOC regulations, as well as the growing and winemaking practices.
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