At the Exposition Universelle of 1855 in Paris, Emperor Napoleon III asked each wine region to establish a classification.
The Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce and Industry, founded in 1705, began that process for the Gironde. Reputation of the wines and their transaction prices. This classification included only red wines from the Médoc, the Sauternes and Barsac sweet white wines, and one Graves red cru.
In 1953, at the request of the Syndicat de défense de l’appellation des Graves, the Institut national des appellations d’origine (INAO) established this classification. By municipality and wine type (red or white). Only one classification level, no hierarchy; this classification is not subject to revision.
Starting in 1954, at the request of the Syndicat de défense de l’appellation Saint-Émilion, the Institut national des appellations d’origine (INAO) began the classification of crus of this appellation. The decree states that the INAO must revise the classification every ten years. Six classifications have been established since 1954.