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France

France is a relatively young wine-growing country compared to Greece and Italy. The first vines were brought in the 6th century BC by the Greeks, who founded Massalia (lat. Massillia = Marseille) in the southwest on the Mediterranean coast. At this time, the land that was later called Gaul by the Romans was inhabited by the Celts. A brisk trade developed and the Greeks covered the demand. When they immigrated to the Po Valley in the 5th century, they got to know Italian wine and began to import it. The later French consumed wine for a long time before they started to cultivate it themselves on a large scale. The conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar (100-44 B.C.) led to its systematic spread. This took place in the 1st century in the Rhône valley, in the 2nd century in Burgundy and Bordeaux and in the 3rd century on the Loire. The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus (232-282) lifted the ban imposed by Emperor Domitian (51-96) and in the middle of the 3rd century ordered the planting of vines throughout Gaul.

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