In 1855, the Emperor of the French, Napoléon III, decided to organize a World Fair in Paris to show the wealth of France to the world.
At this juncture, the Chamber of Commerce of Bordeaux had to propose a satisfactory representation of the wines from the area. The Chamber appealed to the brokers' union to create a list of 68 red growths divided in 5 classes and a list of 21 white growths divided in 3 classes. This classification is based on the wines' sales prices as recorded by the brokers over the previous century.
The original document drawn up by the Bordeaux brokers and sent to the Chamber of Commerce on 18 April, 1855 is written in large, regular characters that are easy to read. The list of red wine producers covers three pages, starting with Château Lafite at the head of the first growths and finishing with Croizet-Bages at the end of the fifth growths. Immediately below Croizet-Bages, a line has been drawn almost three inches in length. Three small inches that decided the fate of Bordeaux's red wine producers between classed and un-classed growths. But in a completely different handwriting, smaller and squeezed above the fatal line, is written "Cantemerle, Mme de Villeneuve Durfort, Macau ". Someone other than the writer of the original list evidently wrote this phrase after the 18th of April. Cantemerle does not appear on the wine map created in the month of May and put on display at the World Fair in Paris.