Grapevine & Wine 11/03/2013

Champagnes de Vignerons takes you to Fulham Palace in March 2013

On Wednesday 27 March, in an exclusive event, Champagnes de Vignerons will hold a tasting of its members’ champagnes at Fulham Palace (in London). The event will be held from 10.00am to 6.00pm. In order to register, journalists should contact the Press Office of the French Trade Commission UBIFRANCE in London (see contact details at the bottom of this press release).

Les Champagnes de Vignerons is a collective trademark for the winemakers of the Champagne region (in eastern France): it was created in 2001 by the Syndicat Général des Vignerons (i.e. the Champagne Growers’ Union) in order to promote champagnes produced across the region’s vineyards.

The collective brand — Les Champagnes de Vignerons (or ‘Winegrowers’ champagne’) — brings together all the area’s growers (vignerons) and co-operatives of growers that make champagne.

The event of 27 March of this year, which is organised by the French Trade Commission UBIFRANCE in the UK, will give trade and media participants the opportunity to taste a range of champagnes that are full of character and steeped in tradition.

The champagnes to be displayed at the tasting are not yet distributed across the British market, but the Champagnes de Vignerons trade association is confident there is proven and considerable potential for the sale of these champagnes with a difference across Britain.

Key statistics illustrate the fact that the vineyards are a dynamic force and play a crucial role in the economy of the whole region. Les Champagnes de Vignerons represents 5,000 growers and co-operatives of growers, who make and sell champagne. As a sign of the producers’ independence, it should be stressed that 90% of the vineyards concerned are owned by the growers themselves. Overall, about a third of total champagne sales (31% precisely) are made by independent winegrowers and co-operatives of growers, which amounts to 100 million bottles per year on average.

The Champagnes de Vignerons trademark constitutes an important and valuable symbol for each vineyard that belongs to the association. It is a brand name, but it is also more than that, since it carries strong values that blend tradition with expertise and authenticity. For Les Champagnes de Vignerons, the focus must be on the individual know-how of each grower — know-how which is passed down from generation to generation — and the diversity and quality of the wines produced.

As a seal of excellence for the Champagnes de Vignerons brand, the label guarantees that every bottle of champagne is produced from vines grown by the vignerons themselves. It also ensures that the champagne concerned is produced directly on the winegrower’s estate or by a co-operative of growers.

How to spot a Champagnes de Vignerons champagne could not be easier: on the bottle, the Champagnes de Vignerons label attests to the origin and quality of the champagne concerned. The label is represented by a specific and easily recognizable logo. Featuring colours that include black, gold or yellow as well as blue, the logo symbolises the different stages in the production of champagne — from the harvest to the cellar…and the tasting.

Different winemakers place the logo on different parts of the bottle: on the back label, on the neck of the bottle, or on the cork (in which case it is affixed to the wire cap). In the unlikely event of the logo not being on display on the bottle, information listed on the label can be checked, which will indicate that it is a Champagnes de Vignerons champagne. (The label may carry various abbreviations, such as RM, which stands for Récoltant Manipulant ; RC, which stands for Récoltant Coopérateur ; CM, which stands for Coopérative de Manipulation ; and, finally, SR, which stands for Société de Récoltants.)

The wine-producing areas for growers’ champagne are diverse. The complex characteristics of the local soil combine with the expertise and passion of the men and women who create the Champagnes de Vignerons, resulting in exceptional champagnes with true character.

From a geological and geographical standpoint, Champagne is a truly unique winegrowing area, combining a climate that can be harsh, yet is tempered by the influence of the sea, with a mostly chalky sub-soil, which is uniquely receptive to sunshine. Champagne is also a remarkably diverse area, made up of 280,000 plots spread over the 35,000 hectares of the champagne Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée or AOC (i.e. the production area covered by the French authorities’ stringent certification-of-origin process).

The 27 March event in London will give trade and other professionals, specialist consultants, wine writers, editors and journalists the opportunity to discover a range of champagnes that hold great appeal thanks to their memorable quality, their unparalleled diversity, and their genuine authenticity.

di S. C.