As early as Roman times, wine has been made in the Bourgogne. But it was not until the Middle Ages that the level of winemaking started rapidly improving. This is largely because of the monks and the clergy, who had access to cool storage space in their monasteries, and kept records of the winemaking process. This is how knowledge and expertise could to be transferred and expanded.
In later times, the vineyards would end up the hands of the nobility. But after the French Revolution, many of these landowners were forced to sell of their vineyards, transferring the ownership to the farmers. Subsequent generations of inheritance led to fragmentation of the vineyards, which is why nowadays the Bourgogne is characterised by a great diversification of the plots and vineyards. Gaining knowledge of Bourgogne wines is quite a challenge, because apart from knowing all about the vineyards themselves, you also need to find out who the winemaker is for that particular plot. One vineyard can have dozens of different owners, and by extension, winemakers.
In the Bourgogne, four grape varietals are prevalent: the Chardonnay and the Aligoté for white wines, and the Pinot Noir and the Gamay for reds. The latter is especially well represented in the Beaujolais. The Côte de Beaune subregion mainly produces white wines, whereas Côte de Nuits mainly yields red grapes.