From vine to wine...

From vine to wine...

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Champagne is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) wine. The appellation dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. This is actually a little-known fact because Champagne is the only AOC product which is allowed to omit the letters "AOC" on the label. 

To be awarded a Champagne appellation, a number of conditions have to be met. The wine must: 

  •          be made from grapes grown within a distinct area which totals 34,000 hectares,
  •          be from three authorised varieties - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier,
  •          come from vines pruned exclusively using the "Chablis", "Cordon ", "Guyot" or "Marne Valley" methods,
  •          come from vines with yields not exceeding 50 to 60 hectolitres/hectare,
  •          come from a must with a ratio of 1,600 kg of grapes per 1,000 litres,
  •          be produced according to the unique method which makes its character,
  •          be put on the market after a minimum resting period of 15 months after bottling, three years after harvest for vintage wines.

Moreover, since 1978, the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (Interprofessional Champagne Wine Committee) has prohibited the use of mechanical devices for grape picking, in order to safeguard the quality of the grapes to be pressed. Mechanical harvesting methods can result in a darkening of the juice from dark varieties (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier).

Photo credit: Studio Focale 3-Reims

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