If I asked you to name a few champagne houses, what would you say? Moet, Lanson, Mumm, Pol Roger, Krug, Veuve Clicquot... Yet there are well over 2,000 champagne producers in Champagne, yet 260 champagne houses represent 70% of production and 90% of exports. You don’t need to be a mathematician to work out that the majority of producers are small family-run producers that only sell in France. Our champagne holiday tours, focus on family-run sustainable producers, as well as some of the big hitting names. But here at The Real Grape, we see that the small but mighty champagne houses are a great opportunity for champagne lovers for five reasons:
1. Try something new
Well first of it means there are lots of new brands and labels that you won’t have heard of. This is great for those that like to find new favourites and learn more about individual making methods in the different regions.
2. Get to know the producers
It is much easier to meet and spend time with smaller family-run producers. Many producers want to share their passion with visitors and are more than happy to take you through the vineyards, cellars and tell you their impressive family history (often traced back for centuries including many wars).
3. Ahead of the innovation curve
Innovation usually happens with much smaller firms that are more agile and open to change. It’s the same with champagne. Visiting smaller houses is a great way to understand what drives these producers & growers and where the latest innovations are happening. The smaller producers can test news ways of making champagne that may be too risky, expensive or not worth the bigger champagne houses trying.
4. Impress friends
You are likely to be trying brands that your friends and family have never heard of, an ideal opportunity to impress. Great for dinner party conversations, presents or just treating yourself and a friend after a hard day at work. Many are surprisingly wallet friendly too, as you are not paying for the brand name but the quality is as good as other big names on the market.
5. Support local producers
As mentioned above, the big-name brands dominate the market, and by supporting smaller producers helps them to continue the family tradition and to make the thing they love most of all – their grapes. You don’t need to pass on quality but can align with brands that have your values, be that being sustainable, family orientated or simply connecting with the producer themselves. Over the last few months we have met producers who have an infectious passion for the vines including those using organic, biodynamic and sustainable practices.
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