The classification structure in Burgundy is completely different to that of Bordeaux. It is setup regionally, based on vineyard and “terroir” quality rather than classifying the specific Chateau. The classifications are:
Grand Cru wines are produced from the small number of the best vineyard sites in the Côte d'Or, as strictly defined by the AOC laws. Grand Cru wines make up only 2% of the production. Grand Cru wines will only list the name of the vineyard as the appellation.
Premier Cru wines are produced from specific vineyard sites that are still considered to be of high quality, but not as well regarded as the Grand Cru sites. Premier Cru wines make up 12% of production. Premier Cru wines are labeled with the name of the village of origin, the Premier Cru status, and usually the vineyard name. Premier Cru wines can also be produced from several Premier Cru vineyards in the same village.
Village or Commune appellation wines are produced from “lesser” vineyard sites from within the 44 AOC villages, or from one individual but non-classified vineyard. Village wines make up 36% of production. Village wines will show the village name on the wine label, such as "Pommard", and sometimes - if applicable - the name of the single vineyard or climat where it was sourced.
appellation wines are wines which are allowed to be produced from grapes within the entire Burgundy. It includes 23 regional and district appellations, producing 41% of wines for the region. This appellation also allows for the production of rosé and sparkling wines as well as wines dominated by other grape varieties than Pinot Noir or Chardonnay. These appellations can be divided into three groups:
- AOC Bourgogne, the standard or "generic" appellation for red or white wines made anywhere throughout the region, and represent simpler wines which are still similar to the village. These wines may be produced at 55 hectoliters/hectare. These wines are typically intended for immediate consumption, within 3 years after the vintage date.
- Subregional (sous-régional) appellations cover a part of Burgundy larger than a village. Examples are Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits and Mâcon-Villages.Typically, those communes which do not have a village appellation, do have access to at least one subregional appellation. This level is sometimes described as intermediate between AOC Bourgogne and the village level.
- Wines of specific styles or other grape varieties include white Bourgogne Aligoté (which is primarily made with the Aligoté grape), red Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains (which can contain up to two thirds Gamay) and sparkling Crémant de Bourgogne.