First Paris International Exposition of 1855

Napoleon III's ambition

Column: Paris International Exposition and Wine Classification

It was in and after the middle of the 19th century that France established its position as the world's wine brand. While wine had long been consumed mainly in and around production regions, the development of the railroad network and the relaxation of taxation were promoting the consumption of wine throughout France, as well as the export of wine to the world. With this background, the first Paris International Exposition was held in 1855, which further enhanced the French brand status as a wine producing country.

Napoleon III, who held the Paris International Exposition, selected Bordeaux wine as the centerpiece of the agricultural products exhibited at the event, and ordered the wine to be classified. Rated as the First Growth status were the following four châteaux, which are well-known even today: Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Margaux, and Château Latour in the Médoc region, as well as Château Haut-Brion in the Graves region. The 1855 Classification still serves as a basis for wine prices today.

At the second Paris International Exposition of 1867, the Grand Prix was bestowed on the bacteriologist L. Pasteur for his work on pasteurization, which is useful for preventing wine from spoiling. The discovery of this technology enabled French wine to be exported to all over the world at a reasonable price. Along with wine classification, the discovery contributed to establishing the fame of French wine.


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