France

While a few other parts of Europe can claim to have an older wine culture than France's, and other countries may have more land under cultivation, and still other countries may boast a wider variety of grapes planted for wines, France still remains the Motherlode for wine. This is based on the historical reputation for its wine regions, for the legal system of classification of its wines (widely imitated) and for the tremendous viticultural influence which is felt throughout the world wherever wine is made and grapes are grown. Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne. Any one of these regions by itself would give France an important place in the history of wine. Add in the Loire and Rhone valleys, Sauternes, Alsace and well...you get the picture. Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc: all French wine grapes which have spread throughout the world and which are cultivated in a manner most often invented by the French. Even the oak barrel industry can claim France as it's ideal as French oak is the standard of quality throughout most of the wine world. So yes, we are unequivocal when we say France is where it all starts.