Terroir & appellation
The Champagne terroir encompasses a mosaic of micro-vineyards, each one bringing together a unique combination of climate, soil and topography. Making the most of their diversity is Champagne’s 15,000-strong team of highly skilled winegrowers.
“Vitivinicultural ‘terroir’ is a concept that refers to an area where the collective knowledge amassed from, on the one hand, the interactions between the identifiable physical and biological environment, and on the other hand, applied vitivinicultural practices, imparts distinctive characteristics on the products originating from that area”
The official definition of terroir was adopted by the General Assembly of OIV (International Organisation of Vine and Wine), held at Tbilisi (Georgia) in June 2010.
Champagne has a history of vine-growing that dates back to the dawn of Christianity, and its vineyard boundaries have been defined by France’s appellation system (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée or AOC) since 1927.
But despite its world-famous wines, the terroir at the heart of this region remains little known.
With its northern location, rugged climate, distinctive soil type and hillside vineyards, the Champagne terroir is the only one of its kind – as original as the wine it produces.
On distingue 4 grandes régions :
The Champagne terroir has two major distinguishing features: northerly latitude and a dual climate that is subject to oceanic and continental influences alike.
> Champagne’s dual climate
Another key feature of the Champagne terroir is its predominantly limestone subsoil, which keeps the vines naturally watered all year round.
The undulating to moderately steep terrain in Champagne creates ideal vineyard sites, combining good drainage with optimum exposure to the sun.
Three major features – climate, subsoil and relief – combine to create a mosaic of micro-terroirs. There are as many geographical permutations in Champagne as there are plots of vines.