Wine lovers enjoy debating what country has the best wine, and I’ll share my perspective in a moment. In reality, there are exceptional wines made in many wine-producing countries. You are missing out if you only drink wine from one specific wine country.
France: The Number One Wine Country
Travel By Glass was born out of my passions for travel and wine. I decided to focus most on French wine to give this website some focus. The country has a deep history of wine and incredible expertise in producing fantastic wine. Here are a few reasons why I think France should be seen as the best wine country.
Reason 1: Focus on Quality Wines
French wines are known for their exceptional quality. That quality commitment is reinforced by French wine law and practices such as the Bordeaux wine classification. In addition, French wines have earned praise for their quality for centuries.
Reason 2: Evidence From Wine Awards
The quality of French wine production is evident when you look at wine awards. French wine grapes have won the highest reviews and scores in the world for many years. That said, I’m aware that the reviews and awards are flawed. Most people expect French wine grapes to produce the finest wines and confirm those beliefs. Despite that limitation, the outstanding performance of French wine regions like Bordeaux and Burgundy in competitions cannot be denied.
Reason 3: French Wines Are Recognized by Wine Collectors and Auction Houses
Price may not be everything, but it is relevant to answering what country has the best wine. While wine collectors buy wine from many peoples, including South Africa, South America, and elsewhere, France remains in the lead. For example, wine collectors pay top dollar for a single bottle from well-respected producers like Chateau D’Yquem.
Further, consider how wine investors treat the French style of wine. Decanter points out that investment-grade wine typically includes high-end French wines such as “Bordeaux classed growths and several red Burgundies such as Domaine de la Romanee-Conti and La Tache.” Further, let’s look at Southeby’s wine auctions. The organization has seven wine price trackers (i.e., indices) dedicated to French wines such as the Bordeaux, Champagne, and Rhone. In comparison, Southeby’s has one wine index for Italian wine.
Tip: Looking for a bottle of wine, and you’re not in the mood for expensive wines? Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered. Use this guide to the best Bordeaux wine – it includes plenty of less expensive wines.
Reason 4: France Offers Incredible Wine Travel Opportunities
In my view, France offers exceptional opportunities for wine travel. You could spend an entire week (or month) just exploring a single famous wine region in the country like the Loire Valley. That’s not all. Unlike some wine country destinations, French wine regions also offer plenty of other points of interest, like castles that have been transformed into boutique hotels. In terms of wine destinations, France is tough to beat.
Reason 5: French Wine Experts Have A Global Influence
When a new wine producer seeks, where do they turn? Wine experts from France are known for their wide range of expertise. For example, Forbes profiled Stéphane Courrèges – a leading Bordeaux wine consultant – a few years ago. Olivier Trégoat, a Bordeaux-based wine expert, has also provided expert support to makers of Chinese wines.
Reason 6: France Is A Leader In Wine Exports
Amazing wines only matter if you can easily find them. Fortunately, France exports a significant amount of its annual wine production. The top destinations for French wine exports are the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Japan, and China, according to Statista. The country’s long-standing commitment to exports means that a wine enthusiast can easily find bottles from amazing wine regions.
What About The Wine World Beyond France?
Beyond France, there are a few other best wine country contenders that I’d like to mention three other wine-producing countries. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list – we could also cover German wine, Spanish wines, and Australian wines.
Since I grew up in Canada, my first wine experiences were with Canadian wines. As a cool climate, Canada is best at producing certain wines. You can find most of the European grape varieties grown in Ontario. In addition, the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia is known for its well regarding and varied wines.
Like France, Italy produces a wide range of iconic wines. The country’s wine range includes well-known European grape varieties and indigenous varieties. For example, Italy produces several high-quality white varieties like Soave and Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
Since fewer wine collectors focused on Italian wine versus French wine, the average price of Italian wine is sometimes more affordable. For example, Italian sparkling wines are typically more affordable than Champagne. While affordable prices may draw you to Italian wines at first, there are plenty of high-end Italian wines worthy of collecting.
USA: The Giant of New World Wine-Producing Countries
The United States has nearly everything you could ask for as a wine country. Want a cool climate? Look for wines made in the northern states like Washington or New York. Are you looking for a warm climate? Look to the famous wine regions of California like Napa Valley. The country also has some of the largest producers of wine in the world. In addition, the United States is also home to many delicious wines.
Given the above points, why didn’t I answer “what country has the best wine” with the USA? There are a few reasons. First, the devastating impact of Prohibition in the 20th century set the wine industry back for decades. In addition, the country has relatively inconsistent wine laws. That inconsistency can lead to beautiful wines and forgettable wines. Despite these points, I look forward to returning to San Francisco someday and visiting Napa Valley in the future.
Where To Start As a Wine Beginner
While it is fun to debate which country makes the best white wine, red wine, and sweet wines, that’s not the most crucial point. Instead, don’t get caught up in status and awards. Look at your wine tasting as a journey to learn and appreciate the different bottles. For example, you could compare a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from one country’s largest wine producer and compare that to a small producer of wine. To start your wine tasting experience, use this guide to the best beginner wines.