Known primarily for its namesake product, the Champagne region in France also produces some of the finest wines around. While much of the attention on French wines lies with the Bordeaux and Burgundy regions, there are a number of great investment opportunities in wines from the Champagne region.
- The Figures
The region is divided into five districts that produce wine ― Vallée de la Marne, Montagne de Reims, Côte de Sézanne, Aube, and Côte des Blancs. This 76,000-acre region roughly encompasses 320 villages, where more than 14,000 inhabitants sell grapes, and approximately 5,000 make wine.
- The Early Days
The first recorded wine export happened in the year 1518, when Thomas Cardinal Wolsey, the chancellor of Henry VIII, exported wine from Champagne to England. Wines of this region were sold in Paris under two categories ― des vins de Montagne (wine of the wooden mountain) and la rivière des vins (wine of the Marne river); they were also sold for a very high price.
- The Sparkling Stuff
There was a trade rivalry between Champagne and Burgundy wines for more than a hundred years. After much thought and trouble, it was decided that Champagne would concentrate more on manufacturing and selling sparkling wine, which was then gaining popularity.
- The Other Wines
Though sparkling wine is totally dominating trade in the Champagne region, other types like the non-sparkling still wines (Bouzy and Coteaux Champenois), rosé (in the region Rosé des Riceys), vin de liqueur (Ratafià Champagne) are also produced here.
- Champagne House
The foundation of a Champagne house was laid in late 16th century, when Gosset, a vineyard owner, produced and exported still wine under his name. This concept was new to the other farmers and soon after, producers like Ruinart, Moët et Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, etc, entered the market and became successful wine producers. The total wine production was around 300,000 bottles a year in 1800; as technology advanced, the total production had reached up to 20 million bottles a year by 19th century.