Appellation d'Origine Controlle
A series of laws, born in France early in the twentieth century which have brought order out of the chaos which existed in the wine industry before that time. These laws control virtually everything related to the growth and production of wine in a given region. For example, the region's boundaries are specified as well as the permitted grape varieties which may be used, the maximum tonnage, minimum grape ripeness (eventual alcohol content),viticultural and vinicultural practices allowed and labelling rules.
Any wine labelled with a given Appellation must comply with all the various regulations defining that appellation's wines. The "AOC," as it is called, guarantees to the consumer that rigid growing and winemaking rules are followed and, therefore, allows the consumer to know what he is buying. All wine producing countries of the world now have their own versions of AOC laws. (Wine/Classification & Attributes)