The existence of the vine in Champagne dates back to the tertiary era as evidenced by the discovery of fossillised leaves. They were, however, wild vines, extinct during the Quaternary Ice Age, which left no lineage.

IV century : Emergence in the Champagne region of the first vineyards. The Romans, great wine lovers, knew how to spot the most suitable plots and choose the best grape varieties.

498 : Clovis, first king of the Francs, is baptised. Champagne wine is served at the banquet!

IX century : Champagne wines are called «wines of the Montain» (Reims) and «wines of the River» (Epernay).

Middle Ages : These wines (not sparkling) become very popular gifts! The region offered this sweet beverage to the monarchs, for their coronation.

1114 : Great Champenoise Charter: Bishop Guillaume De Champeaux confirms the donation of agricultural and viticultural lands to the Abbey of Saint-Pierre-aux-Monts (almost all the estates that are currently part of the viticultural Champagne area are listed in this charter). This document is considered the creative act of the Champagne vineyard.

14th-15th century : The Hundred Year War devastates the Champagne region. The vineyards are abandoned. It is not until the end of the 15th century that the vineyard industry resumes its development.

1650s : Champagne wines become similar to other French wines as far as their production and prices are concerned.

Around 1660 : Glass bottling of Champagne to ensure a better preservation of aromas.

1670-1690 : Dom Pérignon sets out the basic rules of the Champagne production method: blending of different vintages and development of the fizz during the second fermentation. Development of the first winemaking technique: this is the first time that a sparkling wine is associated with a specific region. The gap is widening with the other vineyards.

End of the 17th century : Wines from the terroir of Champagne become «Champagne wines».

1700s : Champagne wine consumption is booming (especially with the wars) but it remains expensive: production difficult, maximum conservation of one year and fizz creation not guaranteed. However, it is considered a luxury product.

1760 : This year is marked by an increase in bottle sales. Champagne wines are increasingly exported abroad

1760-1790 : Faced with the growing success of champagne wines, the trading companies become interested in the market for Champagne wines.

1800s : Wine production techniques are improving.

1800-1831 : Trading is growing and expanding significantly.

1836 : A more reliable process to make the fizz is developed.

1860 : The first cork stoppers are invented.

1887 : The union of the great champagne brands obtains the ownership of the word «Champagne» for all the wines produced exclusively in the Champagne region.

From 1890 on, a phylloxera plague threatens to destroy the entire vineyard. Interprofessional relations deteriorate: Champagne winemakers suffer a flood of fraudulent wines.

1908 : To counter this growing problem, a first zone of Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée is created. The AOC sets 35 rules of quality (limitation of the authorised type of vines, limitation of the yield by hectare…)

Between 1907 and 1910 : Bad weather conditions damage the vines: the harvest is bad or non-existent.

1911 : Great revolt of the winegrowers against the trade industry. The Champagne region devises a scale of vintages and fixes the prices of the grapes.

1914-1918 : The First World War ravaged The Champagne area. 40% of the vines existing in 1914 disappear. Those that remain are in bad shape. The losses are heavy but the winemakers reorganise themselve. They replace the vine “enfoule”, that is to say randomly planted, with vines in lines, which allows the passage of horses and later of machinery.

1927 : Definitive boundaries are established by the AOC. Strict rules concerning the type of vines and authorised pruning techniques are enacted. The harvesting and handling conditions in the Champagne region as well as the natural fermentation process in bottle become regulated.

1929 : The economic crisis plunges the winegrowers into poverty. Many of them decide to produce their own Champagne with their own grapes.

1939-1945 : The Second World War again plunges the vineyard industry into all kinds of difficulties.

1941 : Creation of the Comité Interprofessionnel de Vin de Champagne (CIVC). This organization manages the interests of winegrowers and merchants.

After 1945 : The production processes are modernised: tractors replace horses, metal tanks replace barrels…

2015 : Registration of the «Champagne Landscapes» as a World Heritage Site.


The vine is a perennial plant, that is, it follows an annual cycle. When It wakes up at the end of winter, the sap rises and pearls at the end of the pruned branches with the arrival of the first rays of spring sunshine.

The cycle will end at the end of autumn, after the harvest. Once the leaves have fallen, the vine goes back to sleep to replenish its reserves for the next season.

The year of the vine and our work break down as follows:


  • The texts in green represent the vegetative phase.
  • The texts in black represent the fieldwork phase.


(Before the pruning, we collect the staples used during the lifting of the wires at the beginning of the year).

Pruning is the first work after the harvest. Its objective is to maintain a balance between the vegetative growth of the vine and the quantity and quality of the grape. The control of the growth of the shoots makes it possible to limit, in voluntarily the volume of grape produced and thus to improve the quality of the harvest. Indeed, the fruits will be of lower quality if the vine is too productive. Conversely, a large load of grapes will weaken it.

It is the observation of the buds preserved the previous year and the strength of the branches, which indicates to the vine grower if the vine can bear a greater harvest. If the branches are of different sizes and several are too thin, they should bec ut shorter. Conversely, we will leave more buds on the next pruning if the vine can support it.

Maintaining this balance is an essential process which allows the vine that has produced too much to rebuild its sugar reserves.


There are several types of pruning:

the Chablis pruning,

the cordon de Royat pruning,

the Guyot pruning,

the Valley de la Marne pruning.

The most popular prunings are the Guyot and the Cordon de Royat. These types allow a straight alignment of the vines, which makes it easy to work around the vines.

The pruning is carried out according to very precise rules.


The crushing is the removal of the wood branches cut during pruning. The branches are crushed into small pieces. Once spread over the vine plots, the wood rots and form a compost. This provide about 30% of the organic matter needs of the vine.


Once the vine has been cut, its wood branches must be attached to the load-bearing wire using special pliers and biodegradable ties. These wires will support future grape bunches and promote vertical growth of the plant so that it can benefit from better sunlight.


With spring, the vine begins its vegetative cycle with the “bud break”. It is necessary to control its development which, if it were excessive, would compromise the quality of the harvest.

The protective shells that cover the bud open, under the pressure produced by the sap, allowing the filling (la bourre) to appear, that is to say the first leaves.



This process eliminates unnecessary young shoots and promotes fruiting shoots.

During this period, the vine grows rapidly. Also, in order to aerate the vine frame and limit its yield, it is necessary to remove the part of the twin branches from the same buds.


The vine branches must be controled to aerate the foliage and allow the plant to capture a maximum of sun. The foliage is oriented upwards to prevent it from falling on the ground before the first flowers appear. The branches are therefore raised and held upright, separated and arranged between two wires and then held by staples.


The flowering corresponds to the appearance of flowers on the bunches and lasts about eight days.

This period allows us to estimate quite reliably the date of the next harvest. Indeed, it takes about 100 days after the beginning of the flowering for the grapes to reach maturity. However, weather conditions, lunar influence and diseases can slow or accelerate the maturity of the grapes.

The beginning of flowering begins with the output of stamens (male organ of reproduction) from the flowers of the vines. Each small fertilised flower will give a grape berry.

But the vine is very sensitive to climate change when it is in bloom. If the rain or a cold spell lasts too long the berries will not form (“la coulure”) or will be very small (“le millerandage”). Good weather and mild temperatures promote a healthy and balanced fruit growth (“la nouaison”).

An early flowering will often give a good vintage, because the maturity is reached in warm periods.



After having re-arranged the foliage upwards, staples are used to attach the vine branches as high as possible on the wires. This technique aims to increase the exposure of the foliage surface to the sun and aerate the grapes. This good aeration of the foliage also limits the humidity at the level of the bunches, thus fighting against the development of diseases and promoting the ripening of the grapes.

Similarly, the good distribution of sugars (synthesised by the leaves) between the plant and the fruitswill directly influence the quality of the grapes.


The vines are trimmed several times during the summer.

The vegetation is pruned and the tips of the growing branches are removed to form a regular hedge.

The goal is to improve the sunshine and aeration of the bunches by reducing the shade from one row to another. This promotes fruiting and gives the grapes maximum sunshine exposure, necessary for a good ripening of the fruits. Similarly, young shoots, more susceptible to diseases, are eliminated.



Fruit setting is the transition of vine flowers into grape.

This is the stage where these newly fertilised flowers are perfectly attached to the « raffle ». The eggs are fertilised and the fruits develop.


The berries grow and the grapes change color, it is « La veraison ».

The white grapes become translucent and soften. During this stage of maturation, the amount of acid decreases strongly and the amount of sugar increases rapidly. Tannins develop.


The bark dries out, the wood hardens and provides protection for the new shoots.



The vendange is the harvest of grapes for the production of champagne wine. It depends on many factors and corresponds to the period during which the grapes reach the desired degree of maturity: when the ratio between sugar and acidity has stabilised at a certain level. 


Harvesting is always manual. The harvesting machines are prohibited. Only mature and healthy bunches can be picked. It is essential to reduce as much as possible the handling of the bunches of grapes on the way to the pressing to keep all the natural yeasts present on the skin of the fruit. These yeasts are the ones that will trigger and facilitate the fermentation.



A special feature of the Champagne region is that the wine yields are quoted in the industry regulation in kilograms of grapes per hectare.

Each year, the CIVC sets a maximum yield per hectare.


The Champagne wine is produced according to the Champagne method, which consists mainly of a double fermentation of the must (mout): the first in vats, the second in the bottle itself, in the cellar.


As with the harvest, the pressing yield is also regulated.

A total of 4,000 kg of grapes (called “marc”) is required to extract 25.5 hL (or approximately 3,333 bottles) of juice, also known as grape “mout”. The first extracted juices, with a volume of 20.5 hL, named «cuvée», are usually vinified separately. They are the purest juices of the pulp, rich in sugars and acids. The cuvée produces wines of great finesse, with subtle aromas, a good freshness in the mouth and a better aptitude for aging. The following 5 hL are called second juices or «tailles». The taille is also rich in sugars but contains fewer acids. This juice is also richer in mineral salts and colouring matter. The taille produce wines with intense aromas, more fruity in their youth, but with a shorter life span.

The next juices or «rebêches» do not qualify for the name «appelation » and are sent to the distillery.

The juices that flow from the press are collected in vats called «belons» in Champagne. The must is first treated with the addition of sulphites to protect it against oxidation and to avoid a spontaneous fermentation.



This is a process of purification of the musts.

This operation of settling of the juices takes place for at least 18 hours. The impurities of the must will settle at the bottom of the vats to form a deposit called bourbes.  The clear juices are then extracted and the bourbes sent to the distillery.


After the settling, the musts undergo two fermentations: alcoholic fermentation and then malolactic fermentation.
The sugar is transformed into alcohol by the action of selected yeasts. This process is accompanied by a release of carbon dioxide and a rise in temperature. Selected yeasts are used to allow a complete degradation of sugars while low temperatures are set in order to preserve maximum aromas of the fruit.

As the sugar content of the grape is sometimes insufficient, a step, called “chaptalisation” can be performed before fermentation. This consists of adding to the must a liqueur, a mixture of sugar and wine.

The duration of alcoholic fermentation is about 10 days.


The second fermentation (malolactic) is the transformation of malic acid into lactic acid. It is carried out under the controlled action of specific bacteria, at a temperature of 20 to 22°C.

This fermentation lasts more than a month and allows a decrease in acidity and a natural stabilisation of the wine.


The blending aims to ensure continuity in the quality of the cuvées.

This consists of a mixture, in varying proportions, each year, of wines of different grape varieties, terroirs and vintages.

The diversity of the wines, which are tasted before blending, is due to several factors. First, each grape variety has its own characteristics. Then, the different terroirs and the geographical origin of the grapes influence the quality of the wines depending on the different exposure and soil. Finally, each year is different and the climatic conditions have a significant impact on the quality of a wine.

Thus, if one year the wine has exceptional characteristics or qualities, the blending can be made with wines of that year alone. It is a wine called “vintage” (Millésimé) (with the inscription of the year on the label and the cork of the bottle). A vintage wine is characterised by its great strength of character, compared to average blends that just guarantee the consistency of taste.

Blends are made up of wines of the year and so-called “reserve” wines. This particularity of the Champagne region makes it possible to blend wines resulting from several harvests while preserving a good longevity.



At the end of the malolactic fermentation, the wines will undergo a spell at cold temperature.

Tartaric acid (the natural acid of Champagne wines) crystallizes at low temperatures. This leads to the formation of glitter embedded in the cork or a visible deposit at the bottom of the bottles.

The transition to cold temperatures crytallizes the tartar of the wine by keeping the temperature of the wine at –3°C for about ten days.

Once the wine is cold, it is filtered on a «tangential filter». This technique involves running the wine alongside a porous ceramic membrane. The wine passes through the membrane and clarifies itself.

After filtration, the wines are stored in vats and a sulphite supplement is added to avoid any microbial attack of the wine during its storage.



At the time of bottling, we add to the wine a liqueur (liqueur de tirage) composed of yeasts and sugars. This liqueur will trigger the last fermentation, called « Prise de Mousse » (Fizz creation). The carbon dioxide dissolves itself in the wine and will cause the effervescence specific to Champagne wine, it is the birth of the bubbles! The second fermentation! This effervescence is accompanied by a gradual rise in pressure inside the bottle. The wine will also experience an increase in alcohol content due to the loss of sugars used in the process.

Then, a plastic shutter called a bidule is placed on the bottle, it will serve as a recipient for the yeast at the time of stirring. The bottles are then capped and laser-coded on the glass to ensure traceability.

A period of aging of the wine follows.A minimum duration of about 15 months for basic wines to three years and more for vintage wines. The bottles go down to the cellar and are laid horizontally.

Like the first, this second fermentation produces abundant lees (deposit) which will have to be removed later.


During the aging in the cellar, the yeasts form a deposit in the bottle. Stirring consists of concentrating this deposit in the neck of the bottle.

In order to detach the lees (the deposit) from the wall of the bottle and bring them down to the neck, the bottles will undergo several rotations at the same time as an inclination to go from storage on slats (horizontal bottles) to storage head down.


Disgorging is the last step in the production of Champagne wine.

During this stage, the neck is first immersed in a glycol (food-grade substance) bath, maintained at a temperature of –25°C, in order to create a small ice cube intended to trap the yeast deposit. When removing the cap the deposit and the ice cube are expelled by the pressurised gas. This is the disgorging stage. The few centilitres thus lost are replaced by a mixture of old wine and sugar, called liqueur d’expedition: this is the « dosage ».

The amount of sugar(s) present in the liqueur will determine whether the champagne will be Brut (<15 g/l), Sec (between 17 and 35 g/l) or Demi-sec (between 33 and 50 g/l)… This liqueur brings the final touch and a sweetness to the Champagne that you will taste.

The bottles are then kept under pressure by a cap, held by a cork and a muzzle. They are then stirred several times to mix the wine with the liqueur.



Once the disgorging is done, the bottle of champagne undergoes an ultimate aging (maturation) in the cellar before its commercialisation. As needed, the bottles are collected from this stock before being labelled and then crated/boxed for shipment.