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Viticulture soon flourished with the founding of the Greek colony of Marseille.The Roman Empire licensed regions in the south to produce wines. Martin of Tours (316–397) was actively engaged in both spreading Christianity and planting vineyards.Consequently, France has one of the oldest systems for protected designation of origin for wine in the world, and strict laws concerning winemaking and production. The word "appellation" has been put to use by other countries, sometimes in a much looser meaning.As European Union wine laws have been modelled after those of the French, this trend is likely to continue with further EU expansion.In 1935 numerous laws were passed to control the quality of French wine.They established the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée system, which is governed by a powerful oversight board (Institut National des Appellations d'Origine, INAO).
The advance of the French wine industry stopped abruptly as first Mildew and then Phylloxera spread throughout the country, indeed across all of Europe, leaving vineyards desolate.This resulted in the establishment in 1935 of the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée to protect French interests.Large investments, the economic upturn following World War II and a new generation of Vignerons yielded results in the 1970s and the following decades, creating the modern French wines we know today.France has the world's second-largest total vineyard area, behind Spain, and is in the position of being the world's largest wine producer losing it once (in 2008) to Italy.French wine traces its history to the 6th century BC, with many of France's regions dating their wine-making history to Roman times.