Burgundy wines are classified on four levels, the lowest being the generic "Bourgogne" appellation. Selected areas of the Burgundy vineyard have their own classifications, such as Cotes de Beaune. Within these, there are smaller areas, villages and groups of villages, reputed to produce higher quality wine, such as Mersault, Pernand Vergelesse or Aloxe Corton.
For hundreds of years, France basked in the reputation of being the world's greatest producer of wines. Today, that reputation is being rivalled by other wine-growing nations on four continents, and the French wine industry is facing new challenges. Since the low of 2003, the French wine industry has been trying to reinvent itself, producing new wines for a changing world and European market, while continuing to provide the world's greatest wines, produced on estates with perfect conditions and centuries of winegrowing tradition.