paysage de vigne en champagne

Champagne and its seasons

Vines that are pampered all year round

Spring… When nature awakens

Image
vigne printemps

Champagne in springtime  

Champagne in springtime is a haven of nature: trees, flowers, wildlife… Nature is springing back to life!  

The end of March, early April bring milder temperatures and the Champagne vines stir, ready for a new growth cycle. The first buds appear: this is known as "bud burst" or bud break. This marks the start of a new vine-growing cycle for the Growers. Removing superfluous buds, arranging the shoots and limiting excessive growth… There is a whole series of tasks to be done, preparing the vine so that it can focus on producing the finest grapes, instead of an abundance of foliage and shoots. 

The brighter days are also an ideal time for going walking, cycling or horse riding, organising the first picnics of the season or trips to our wine estates… There’s no shortage of things to do! 

May is upon us. The buds have grown into leaves and the vine flowers gradually blossom. Winter may be over, but the winegrowers are still on the alert, for a late frost is not unheard-of and this could imperil the coming harvest.  

In the wine cellars, the wines from the previous year’s harvest are continuing to age inbottles. Slowly but surely, their own personality, aromas and bubbles are developing. 

Dual perspectives

Spring from the perspectives of Champagne Houses and Growers

vigne au printemps

A grower’s point of view

" In the spring, there is always something quite special about watching our grapevine buds swell and burst open. We have a duty to protect this fragile nature"

vignes au printemps

A House’s point of view

"Daily vine maintenance is crucial during the spring months. Every task matters: across the region the grapes that will be used to make our great wines must be meticulously looked after."

1
2

Summer in Champagne, between sunshine and greenery

Image
Vigne en été

Champagne in summertime  

There is no better season for observing the ripening grapes on an outing through the vines. Why not also make time totaste one of the many different Champagne wines in an unusual drinks location, such as a rooftop bar or bar in the trees, where you can also enjoy the sunshine and admire the surroundings. For somewhere cooler, head down to a Champagne House’s or Grower’s cellar instead!  

By the end of June, the sunny days are in full swing, warming the vine plants which are now covered in thick foliage. These leaves protect the grape clusters during very hot spells, enabling them to thrive under the watchful eye of the winegrowers. In very close, muggy weather, they watch out for storms and above all hail showers that can damage the vines.  

Through the summer months you can stay out exploring the lush green hillsides until late in the evening. This is a lovely time of day for contemplating the vineyard and seeking out the contemporary artworks on display across Champagne as part of the Vign’Art festival! 

Dual perspectives

Summer from the perspectives of Champagne Houses and Growers

vigne en été

A grower’s point of view

"In summer, we tell ourselves daily just how lucky we are to work in such beautiful surroundings."

Visite de cave

A House’s point of view

"Over the summer we get a lot of tourists in search of an unforgettable outing…and somewhere cool!"

1
2

Autumn, and the vines are all ready for harvest

Image
vignes en automne

Champagne in the autumn  

Summer is over and autumn has just begun: the grape clusters are ripe and juicy. The Growers check them constantly. Harvest time will begin any day now. Nothing is left to chance: the grapes will reach peak ripeness soon... And when they do, the winegrowers will be ready. This generally happens in September. In recent years, however, harvesting has often begun as early as mid-August.  

It’s time. The Champagne harvests have begun! Everyone sets to work in the vineyards to pick the grape clusters. To fully protect the grapes, the clusters are picked entirely by hand: absolutely no machinery is used, and this is one of the specific features of the Champagne designation. The clusters must then be taken to the pressing centres as promptly as possible while they are still in pristine condition. Why not take part in a "Grape picker for a day" campaign to experience this amazingly unique event for yourselves? If your stay coincides with the end of the harvests, you can celebrate Le Cochelet or Le Chien (term only used in Aube), the traditional end-of-harvest meal! 

It will then be time for the grapes to begin their long journey to become Champagne. Pressing then fermentation in vats… Autumn is a season when life in Champagne revolves around the production of its wines with, as a highlight at the end of October, the Champagne et vous festival, which promises an exciting two-day programme of estate tours, meetings with winemakers and professional wine-tasting. This is a wonderful opportunity to explore the region and the places where Champagne is made – while they are making it! You can also celebrate Champagne on Champagne Day, which is held on the 4th Friday in October.  

The Champagne landscapes gradually take on a different look. The hillsides deck themselves out in shimmering shades of yellow, orange and red as autumn colours sweep through the vineyards. A ray of sunshine glints off a golden leaf shot through with reddish hues... The scenery is a marvel to behold!  

Come November, it is time to begin pruning. This is an essential task for laying the groundwork for next year’s harvest. Winter slowly creeps up on the vineyards, when pruning will pause until mid-January.

Dual perspectives

Autumn from the perspectives of Champagne Houses and Growers

vigne en automne

A grower’s point of view

"Autumn is an important season for us. This is when the fruits of our months-long labour are finally reaped!"

Cuverie

A House’s point of view

"Autumn is when everything begins for our cuvée wines. The wine-making process commences straight after harvesting: this is when the grapes are turned into Champagne."

1
2

The end of a cycle... wintertime

Image
la vigne en hiver

Champagne in wintertime

Winter marks a quieter spell in the vineyard.  In December, colder weather comes in, though the region is protected by oceanic influences from overly harsh temperatures. The days get shorter, but the industry still has plenty to do. The approaching Christmas and New Year festivities keep everyone on their toes. This is a busy time, then, for Champagne Houses and Growers alike. 

Reims’ wonderful Christmas Market runs from the end of November all the way through December. Decked out in dozens of wooden chalets at the foot of Reims Cathedral, the market is the ideal destination for discovering our regional specialities and other delights. If you are in Aube, drop in to Troyes to stroll around the magical giant baubles of Bulles Enchantées. A festive outing that young and old will love!  

Barely are the festivities over, than on the Saturday before 22 January Champagne’s Houses and Growers come together to celebrate the feast day of St Vincent. Growers in each village unite to give thanks to their patron saint for the previous year’s harvest and commit their endeavours in the coming year to his patronage. This is a day rich in symbolism, when hundreds of participants dressed in traditional costume congregate in the streets.

The vines have gradually shed their leaves and are now bare. This is when Growers stop pruning, from mid-December to mid-January. This is the dormant winter period for the vines. Pruning can resume in mid-January, to prepare for the arrival of spring and the next growing cycle.

Dual perspectives

Winter from the perspectives of Champagne Houses and Growers

Vigne en hiver

A grower’s point of view

"Pruning must begin when harvesting is complete. This time-honoured task is crucial for preparing healthy vines for the next season."

Bouteilles

A House’s point of view

" Champagne is a celebratory wine that is served at all sorts of special occasions. Our teams have been busy preparing orders and shipments for weeks."

1
2