The vine was introduced to the Bordeaux region by the Romans, probably in the mid-first century, to provide wine for local consumption, and wine production has been continuous in the region since.
Bordeaux now has about 116,160 hectares (287,000 acres) of vineyards, 57 appellations, 10,000 wine-producing châteaux and 13,000 grape growers. With an annual production of approximately 960 million bottles, Bordeaux produces large quantities of everyday wine as well as some of the most expensive wines in the world. Included among the latter are the area's five premier cru (first growth) red wines (four from Médoc and one, Château Haut-Brion, from Graves), established by the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855:
The first growths are:
In 1855, Mouton-Rothschild was ranked a Second Growth. In 1973, it was elevated to First Growth status.
Both red and white wines are made in Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux is called claret in the United Kingdom. Red wines are generally made from a blend of grapes, and may be made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit verdot, Malbec, and, less commonly in recent years, Carménère.
White Bordeaux is made from Sauvignon blanc, Sémillon, and Muscadelle. Sauternes is a sub-region of Graves known for its intensely sweet, white, dessert wines such as Château d'Yquem.
Because of a wine glut (wine lake) in the generic production, the price squeeze induced by an increasingly strong international competition, and vine pull schemes, the number of growers has recently dropped from 14,000 and the area under vine has also decreased significantly. In the meantime, the global demand for first growths and the most famous labels markedly increased and their prices skyrocketed.
The Cité du Vin, a museum as well as a place of exhibitions, shows, movie projections and academic seminars on the theme of wine opened its doors in June 2016.