Since the 1980s the champagne industry has become increasingly dominated by multinational corporations that own a number of brands as part of their portfolio of luxury products. The financial clout and promotional power of these brands has allowed them to open up new markets for champagne and to dominate restaurant wine lists and retail shelves globally. They account for more 80% of global champagne sales, yet they own only 12% of the vineyards. These negociants and co-operatives may, by law, purchase as much of their grapes or pressed juice as they wish from all over the region. They produce millions of cases of champagne made in a highly interventionist and formulaic way (using techniques such chaptalization, acidification, cultured yeast strains and rapid temperature controlled fermentations) to bring to market the world’s most successful agricultural commodity ever – Champagne made in a “house style”.
By contrast, small growers, or “récoltant-manipulants,” are dedicated family producers offering personalised winemaking styles and unique expressions of their local “terroir”, often making wine from a single vineyard or just a handful of plots. They own more than 80% of the vineyards but account for just 3% of annual champagne sales. Growers make wine from the fruit of their own vineyards and may purchase only 5% of their fruit to help them handcraft their limited quantities of Champagne. These Champagnes de Vignerons are where quality, price and individuality all intersect and so they deserve your support…
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More information: http://www.champagnejayne.com