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Abbreviation for Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée; see under Appellation d'Origine Protégée.

New designation AOP valid in France for the highest wine quality level "wines of protected origin", which corresponds to a quality wine or PDO (protected origin). The reason for this was the new EU wine market regulation that came into force in August 2009. This means that an origin-controlled quality system is now mandatory throughout the EU, which divides wines into two classes, namely without and with an indication of origin. However, the old traditional designation AOC may continue to be used. The VDQS (Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure) category introduced in 1949, which had been regarded as a precursor to AOC, was cancelled without replacement. The production conditions had to be prepared according to AOP standards and the link to the terroir had to be proven. Only then was a higher classification to AOP possible.

Appellation d’Origine Protégée - Logos

The change from controlled to protected means a much more far-reaching and transparent set of rules than the previous system. An independent control organisation checks whether a wine complies with the specifications for the respective appellation, which are specific to each appellation. The controls cover the entire production chain, from the barrel to the bottle. The appellation then applies not only to a specific tank, but to the entire winery. The link to the terroir is therefore even more important than before with AOC. There are three levels: AOP Cru (wines from a vineyard, site or parcel), AOP communal (municipality) and AOP regional (region).


Two far-sighted men in particular laid the foundations. The first was Pierre Le Roy de Boiseaumarié (1890-1967), who, as the owner of Château Fortia in the southern Rhône, defined an area in the 1920s that was particularly suitable for 10 (later 13) grape varieties and wine due to the prevailing climate and soil type. After long endeavours, the boundaries were finally defined in 1929, but it was not until 1935 that the area was classified as Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This was also a decisive impetus for the term terroir. The second proponent was the professor of agriculture Joseph Capus (1867-1947). He took the "cheese scandal" as an opportunity to denounce the common practice in Bordeaux of producing wine from any grape and using any method. Under his influence, the law was expanded in 1927 to include specifications for winemaking. These stipulated, among other things, that only those grape varieties sanctified by loyal, long-established local custom could be used. Capus thus pointed the way forward and is therefore considered the godfather of the appellation law, which is still referred to today as "la loi capus".

It gradually included the authorised methods regarding pruning, maximum yield, ripeness of the grapes and vinification methods in the cellar. In 1935, the "Comité National des Appellations d'Origine" was founded on the initiative of Capus and Boiseaumarié. This was the forerunner of the INAO, which was founded after the Second...

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