Monday, January 22, 2024

Champagne's Unusual Way of Pricing Grapes

                                 Champagne's grape pricing system began in the early 1900's

Did you know that the cost of grapes in the Champagne district is totally dependent upon a quality rating system based upon the village in which they are grown?  Let me explain this fascinating system used in the Champagne appellation to determine how much certain grapes are worth.

Overview of Champagne Region

The Champagne region actually begins about 75 miles east of Paris.  It is quite a large geographic area (90 miles north - south, by 70 miles east - west).  Moreover, the Champagne appellation has 318 different villages that grow grapes for the world’s most coveted bubbly.  Each village has been given a quality rating and the price of the village’s grapes are dependent upon this.

           The mountain of Reims has several villages classified as either Grand Cru or Premier Cru

Quality $ystem

Think of the Champagne vineyard rating like a ladder with 3 rungs.   The top rung composes grapes from the 17 Grand Cru designated villages.   The middle rung includes grapes from the 44 Premier Cru villages.  On the bottom rung are the grapes of the remaining 257 villages.  

Each year the price of grapes is determined by the CIVC (Comite Interprofessioanl de Vins de Champagne), a joint trade association representing both the grape growers and Champagne makers.  Once the annual price is established here’s how the three parts of the ladder are paid:

~  Grand Cru villages are paid 100% of the price

~ Premier Cru villages are paid 90-99% of the price

~ The remaining villages are paid 80-89% of the price

                          Wine-Knows' Champagne, Burgundy & the Rhone trip is sold out

If you’re one of the fortunate participants of this September’s trip, you will actually be hosted by the CIVC trade organization for a private seminar and tasting.  Additionally, you will be visiting Champagne makers with Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards.

Toasting all a healthy 2024! 


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