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Abstract The objective of this article is to provide an in-depth study of France’s performance in the new international wine market that began to take shape from the middle of the nineteenth century. We analyse the main determinants of its success in exporting ordinary and high-quality wine using a gravity model for both types of wine. The article shows how France lost foreign markets in the ordinary wine sector, due to difficulties in maintaining its exports, which resulted from the decrease in production caused by the phylloxera plague and increasing competition from growing numbers of producers who were more efficient at producing these types of wines. However, in the high-quality wine market, French exporters enjoyed considerable success, increasing their exports thanks to their efforts to offer a product that was highly valued abroad and the use of modern marketing and sales techniques. The exports benefited from the fall in transport costs and French colonial expansion. However, exports of both products were severely affected by a series of major events, including the First World War, the Russian Revolution, Prohibition in the US, and the Great Depression. This case study of the wine market shows that the collapse of the first globalization was not the same for all products.