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Located in the southwest of France near the Atlantic coast, about 310 miles southwest of Paris. It covers the entire Gironde department, spreading 60 miles around the Gironde River estuary and the two rivers that feed into it; the Garonne and the Dordogne. The estuary creates an oceanic micro-climate, an ideal setting for grape growing, and has played an important role in the history and success of distributing the wines of the region.
Bordeaux wine has been produced here since the Romans planted the first vineyards to make wine for the soldiers almost 2,000 years ago, and takes its name from the region’s capital city. The Bordeaux wine trade flourished in the Middle Ages, as a result of trade with England during the 300 years of which the Aquitaine region was under English rule. In the 17th century, Dutch and Irish traders began to drain the marshland around the Médoc on the Left Bank and planted more vineyards. In the late 19th century, almost all Bordeaux vineyards were destroyed by Phylloxera, a tiny insect native to North America. The region’s wine industry was rescued by grafting native Frenchwvies onto pest-resistant American rootstock.
In order to guarantee quality and provenance, the INAO or Institut National des Appellations d’Origine, passed laws in 1936 stating that all regions in France had to name their wines by the place in which they had been produced. Labeled with the AOC stamp of approval, products were officially confirmed to be from the region.
the Bordeaux wine industry is made up of roughly 10,000 winemakers, 400 négociants, or wine merchants, and 130 courtiers, or brokers. One job in six is related to wine, and the wine industry’s main trade fair, Vinexpo, is held in Bordeaux every two years, alternating with the Bordeaux Wine Festival, which is open to the public.