The French Wine Appellation System:
In France, the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO, Institute of controlled term of origin) is an institution according to the food and wines a geographical certification. This appellation guarantees the origin and the making of the product. Wines are categorized under the following grades:
AOC: Appellation d’Origine Controlée (possible translation: "regulated wine of origin") is the highest level of French wine. AOC has specific rules about the grape varieties allowed in the wine, methods of cultivation, area of production, the maximum yield per acre, methods of wine-making and alcohol percentage. A very strict legislation guarantees the quality of AOC wines.
VDQS : Vin Delimité de Qualité Supérieure (possible translation: "quality wine of origin") is a level between Vin de Pays and Appellation d’Origine Controlée. This grade is rarely seen today, and VDQS wines obey to similar rules as the AOC, but less rigid.
Vin de Pays: Possible translation: "country wine". Regulation for "Vin de Pays" wines are less restrictive than for AOC wines. A "Vin de Pays" wine production zone is larger than an AOC.
Vin de Table: Possible translation: "table wine". "Vin de Table" is the most basic variety of wine, with very few rules and restrictions. Vin de Table represents about 50 % of the wine production in France. Wines using a mix of european grapes are called ";european table wine" and wines using only grapes from France are called "Vin de table français".