Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
Oct 28, 2010 06:46 AM

Do French people drink foreign wines?

I've to Paris and South of France but I don't remember seeing any California wines or New Zealand wines. Is there a market for foreign wines in France? Just got me curious.
I assume California wines are too expensive to import especially when their own wines are so cheap.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. i used to know some French expats who only drink French wines. only French wines, really.

    i notice the same thing in countries that have a beer/wine culture and cuisine. and why not? it's cheap(er) and comes from nearby.

    1. Supermarkets have a small selection of foreign wines and wine stores have a large selection. We just moved to NYC from Paris.

      However, I personally don't remember seeing very many foreign wines in France in stores and on restaurant menus but I also didn't pay very much attention (I don't drink very much wine).

      There must be a market for foreign wines, but I do recall that when we were out with French friends, French wine (esp. St. Emilion or other Bordeaux) was always ordered. My husband's family also served exclusively French champagnes and wines at family meals and gatherings. I think many French prefer French wines over foreign wines because they're used to the taste (and possibly think they're better quality, too).

      6 Replies
      1. re: FrançaisAméricaine

        I remember seeing some German riesling and maybe some italian wines but nothing from other parts of the World.
        I do agree that Bordeaux wines are the best. So velvety..smooth...yumm..

        1. re: FrançaisAméricaine

          Based on the US wines that I have seen, and the obscene markups (including tariffs), I could find no reason to explore any Imported wines here, and especially "imported" from the US. I would stick with FR, though I love my country, and its wines.They are better, than what one will find int the UK, or Europe, and the prices are MUCH better for FR wines.

          One would have to be foolish, or deranged, to go with an inferior US wine, that likely costs 8x what a good FR wine does.

          I either sneak the "good stuff" in, or treat my UK/Euro friends, when they visit me. A much better proposition, IMHO.


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            California wines are hardly inferior.

            1. re: snoorani24

              IMO, many of them are, especially lower-priced wines. Spent 2 weeks in Bordeaux last year and thought I would lose my mind, the wines were so good. Never had that feeling in Napa.

              1. re: snoorani24

                Let's compare apples to apples; oranges to oranges.

                No one is saying -- nor have they ever, TTBOMK, said California wines are inferior, period. But that's even framing the question properly, IMHO.

                Is a $100 California Cabernet Sauvignon inferior to a $100 red Bordeaux? No. Of course not. The difference is not one of Quality, but rather of Flavor Profile -- the preference is strictly personal, and depends on one's own palate (and perhaps one's mood). Is the finest California ANYthing inferior to the its French (or German, or Italian, or Spanish, or Portuguese, or . . . or . . . or . . . ) counterpart? No. Once again, of course not.

                Now, is the average $5-12 wine in the supermarket/supermarché of better quality in the US or in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, etc.? Generally speaking, on average, I'd say the *quality* issue is on the European side. I'm not talking flavor/taste/other subjective preferences, I"m talking quality -- *and* QPR, for that matter.

                1. re: zin1953

                  I don't consider myself to be a wine expert by any stretch of the imagination, but your comments always make me feel like maybe I'm better at it than I think I am.

          2. France is one of the biggest markets for Port wines from Portugal. Largely inexpensive Tawnies, iirc.

            1. I would hope they drink good German Rieslings along wtih Port. Also Barolo and better US producers should be available. I don't get those any where that just drink a specific region as there is good wine from the major areas of the world.

              1. Willi's Wine Bar and Juvenile's in Paris are the only two places I know there where you can buy wines from the other hemisphere. I'm sure there must be others, but not too many.

                I don't think too many Italians drink wines that don't come from there, either.