For the average person I think one of the most confusing things about French wine is the difference between AOC & Vins du Pays. In my experience most people think AOC means top quality and Vins du Pays lower quality. This is not necessarily the case and I think it helps to understand why we have both categories. So we need a little history.The story begins in the late 1800’s during the devastation of the French vineyards by Phylloxera. During this period production of French wines was considerably reduced and this led to the widespread fraudulent sales of “famed” wines and adulteration of standard wine with cheaper wine. In an attempt to regulate the industry the French Assembly took the decision to delimit geographical areas and to specify where particular wines must be produced. However, it quickly became apparent that France’s famous wines depended on more than where they were grown and this first attempt to regulate French wines failed.