Ultimate Guide to the Bordeaux Wine Region

Bordeaux Wine Region History and Culture


Much like the regions of Burgundy and Mosel, the history of winemaking in Bordeaux goes all the way back to the Roman Empire [source: the Wine Doctor]. Vines are mentioned in the poetry of the area from the 4th century, and although there is little information to support it, most believe grapes were cultivated here much earlier. The area is ideal for grape growth and there are wine presses that date back to the Roman Empire as well.

There is little information about viticulture in the area before the 12th century, but from then on, wine production has been what the region is best known for. This boom came as the result of a marriage. The union of Henry II to Eleanor of Aquitaine left the region under English rule. As a result, England hoped to encourage trade with the area and offered a tax break to French merchants. Bordeaux's wines became the least expensive wines in England, and were quickly in high demand [source: the Wine Doctor].

Eventually trade relations with areas like Germany and the British Isles improved, farther extending the reach of Bordeaux's reputation. Soon bigger names in winemaking set up shop in the Bordeaux region so they could secure a piece of the thriving market for themselves [source: the Wine Doctor]. The Bordeaux region literally became one of the most important winemaking regions in the world. Despite struggling with major agricultural problems like powdery mildew and other vine-threatening diseases, Bordeaux remains one of the most important wine regions in France -- and the world.