To the French, wine is more than just a drink. They make it, they quaff large quantities of it and they produce some of the finest in the world. It is officially designated part of the nation's cultural and gastronomic heritage.
But a new poll suggests French drinkers know surprisingly little about one of their most celebrated products.
Ask the average consumer if they prefer their vin with a perfumed or spicy bouquet, full-bodied or lighter and the response is likely to be an embarrassed shrug and a "je ne sais pas", according to a new poll.
The survey, carried out for the magazine
Terre de Vins (Wine Country) published on Tuesday, asked a group of French drinkers if they considered themselves knowledgeable about wine.
Of those surveyed, 71 per cent said no and of these 43 per cent admitted they knew nothing at all.
Only 3 per cent suggested they were well-versed and 26 per cent said they "knew enough".
Pollsters from the company Viavoice said the research threw up interesting - if somewhat obvious - social class differences. The findings suggested those who were executive or professionals were much more likely to know something about wine than factory workers or artisans.
"This proves that learning about wine is seen as still very elitist in French society and also a feeling - real or supposed - that those households with limited purchasing power cannot afford quality wines," said a Viavoice spokesperson.
More than half of those questioned felt young drinkers should be taught about wine and how to drink with moderation.
Rodolphe Wartel, director of
Terre de Vins, said: "In general French people think the wine world is complicated. Because behind the taste there is a whole universe, a language…they fear expressing an opinion about it. Our job is to show them that it is, in fact, quite simple."