Beaune is the centre of the Burgundy wine trade, the epicentre of activity and guaranteed its place on the world stage with the the annual Hospices de Beaune wine auction. The commune itself sits in the heart of the Côte de Beaune, with the red wine producing villages of Pommard and Volnay just to the south. Beyond this lie the great white wine vineyards of Meursault, Saint Aubin, and Chassagne and Puligny Montrachet.
It was officially granted AOC status in 1936 in recognition of the quality of the vineyards surrounding the town. Around 315 hectares are allocated to the appellation’s 42 officially classified premier cru sites, which represents a significant percentage of the 415 or so hectares that make up the total plantings.
Most of the production of Beaune is red, from the mandatory Pinot Noir, and as a result most of the debate around terroir in the village bears this in mind. Wines produced from vineyards on the northern side of the village are often described as more powerful than the slightly rounder, softer wines from the southern side of the village. Of course, producer decisions in both the vineyard and the cellar can easily make this a difficult exercise to demonstrate.