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Ultimate Guide to the Burgundy Wine Region

Burgundy Wine History and Culture


The Burgundy wine region's rich history stretches back many centuries and involves revolutions, churches and the government. The oldest written reference to the region being a hub of wine production is from Eumenes' Discources in A.D. 312. We know that the Romans were the first to bring grape vines to the area to begin the planting process. By the time the Middle Ages rolled in, monks were managing the vineyards spread throughout the area. There are records from A.D. 865 of monks making wine in the Saint-Martin-de-Tours area and selling it in nearby towns. Eventually that wine made it to Parisian markets [source: Sonkin].

In 1395, Duke Philip the Bold created laws dictating a certain level of quality and standards for Burgundy winemakers. Then in 1416, King Charles VI officially set the boundaries of the Burgundy region, stretching from Sens to Macon. It was clear to those in charge that the wine that Burgundy produced was special enough to be distinct [source: Burgundy Wines].

Burgundy wine wasn't only enjoyed by the locals in the country, thanks to trade agreements with other European regions. There are records showing that Chablis, a famous white wine of the region, was sent on boats to England and Belgium. When the French Revolution happened in 1789, many of the monasteries where the wine was produced were destroyed. The vineyards were then broken up into smaller plots of land, and that's why there are so many small growers in the Burgundy region today.