Champagne – Part Three: Growers and Co-ops

For being such a relatively small agricultural region, Champagne may just be the most regulated wine region on the planet. Overseeing all of the rules and regulations is the Committee for Viticulture of Champagne (CIVC), whose professional staff is directed by a board of governors, consisting of both growers and houses.

Growers may own ninety percent of the 84,000 acres of vineyards in the Champagne appellation, but it is the Champagne “Houses” that produce the majorityof the wine in the region. While some Houses have their own vineyards, most buy additional grapes from the growers. Most growers sell the majority of their grapes to houses, but some growers keep the fruit and produce wines for their own label. Other growers have formed cooperatives that use their grapes under a specific label. This arrangement has set up a working relationship filled with layers of complexity – like Champagne itself.

This week, I’ll review wines of growers and cooperatives and next week I’ll cover houses.

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