A classification into different quality classes for wine already existed in antiquity. On the one hand, this refers to the product (wine), but also to the wine-growing regions and the producers. It was recognised very early on that, in addition to the work of the winemaker, the soil and the environmental conditions also have a great influence on the quality of the wine. In France in particular, terroir or origin has always been given high priority and defined in the Appellation d'Origine Protégée system of origin. The French classification systems are related to this; see Bordeaux classification and Burgundy classification
However, official classifications of vineyards and sites were also carried out in Germany as early as the 19th century in Bavaria and Prussia. The best known is the Prussian site classification from 1868 and 1897, which were used as the basis for the VDP classification model adopted in 2006. Within the EU, a new wine market regulation became valid in 2009, in which a uniform, origin-oriented wine quality classification system was introduced for all member states (see in this regard under Quality System).
See also awards and wine evaluation. For complete lists of classification systems, see Grand Cru (wines) and Vineyard (sites).