See under Appellation d'Origine Protégée
In France, the new designation AOP is valid for the highest wine quality level "wines with protected origin". The reason for this was the new EU wine market regulation that came into effect 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 indication of origin. The old designation AOC may still be used, however. The category VDQS (Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure), which was introduced in 1949 and was considered an AOC preliminary stage, was deleted without replacement. The production conditions must be prepared according to AOP standards and the reference to the terroir must be proven. Only then is a high classification to AOP possible.
The change from controlled to protected means a much more far-reaching and transparent set of rules. An independent control organisation checks whether a wine complies with the specifications for the respective 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 reference to the terroir is therefore even more important than before for AOC. There are three levels: AOP Cru (wines from a vineyard, site or plot), AOP kommunal (community) and AOP regional (region).
The basis was mainly created by two far-sighted men. The first was Pierre Le Roy de Boiseaumarié (1890-1967), who, as the owner of Château Fortia on the southern Rhône in the 1920s, defined an area that was particularly suitable for 10 (later 13) grape varieties and the wine due to the climate and soil type prevailing there. After much effort, 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 impulse 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 practice in Bordeaux of making wine from any grape and in any method. Under his influence, the law was extended in 1927 to include specifications for wine making. Among other things, it defined that only those grape varieties could be used that were sanctified by loyal, old-established, local custom. Capus thus pointed the right way and is therefore also considered the godfather of the appellation law, which is still called "la loi capus" today.
These gradually included the methods permitted in terms of pruning, maximum yield, grape ripeness and methods of vinification in the cellar. In 1935, through initiatives of Capus and Boiseaumarié, the "Comité National des Appellations d'Origine" was founded. This was the precursor of the INAO, which was founded after the Second World War. Since then, it has been the regulating...