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Terra Vitis in Champagne:
sustainable still and sparkling wines

Since the first cork was popped in the 17th century, champagne has been synonymous with celebrations, sophistication and a certain French savoir-vivre that has conquered the world. But while champagne has become a household name, the region of Champagne, where it is produced, is less in the limelight. Yet this vast winegrowing area of rolling hills in northeast France makes not only a huge variety of sparkling wines, but excellent still wines. Discover (or rediscover) the rich aromatic palette of wines from Champagne with the region’s Terra Vitis winegrowers.

3 things to know about Champagne wines

3 choses à savoir

Champagne’s original creator is considered to be Pierre Pérignon (Dom Pérignon), a monk and cellar master who pioneered his winemaking methods in the 17th century. The first great champagne houses (Ruinart, Moët, etc.) were created in the 18th century. Did you know there are more than 80 million bubbles in a bottle of champagne?

3 choses à savoir

In the Champagne region, most winegrowers sell part or all of their harvest to the major champagne houses. However, most Terra Vitis winegrowers make their own champagnes.

3 choses à savoir

In France, Champagne is the only region that allows white and red wine to be mixed to make rosé.

Champagne: four wine regions in one

Champagne is one of the most extensive winegrowing regions in France. It covers more than 34,000 hectares, with over 200 km separating its northernmost vineyards from the southernmost. In total, there are almost 300,000 vineyard plots, and more than 15,000 winegrowers. As it is so large, Champagne is divided into four distinct wine regions:

  • Montagne de Reims
  • Vallée de la Marne
  • Côte des Blancs
  • Côte des Bar


Each sub-region has its own geological characteristics, sun exposure, topography and, to a lesser extent, climate. As a result, the grape varieties vary from one area to another, and a particular grape variety can express different aromas depending on its terroir of origin, making the wines of Champagne richly diverse.

domaine domaine champagne
région champagne

Grape varieties in Champagne

Although the region is large, the grape varieties grown here are relatively uniform. There are three main grape varieties grown in Champagne: Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The proportion of each varies according to the locality – each region has its flagship variety. There are also small amounts of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Arbane and Petit Meslier, but these represent less than 1% of vines grown in the Champagne wine region.

Champagne wines: not just bubbly.

While Champagne is most famous for its sparkling wines, the region also has two appellations for still wines.

Although sparkling wines are produced worldwide, only those from the Champagne appellations can legally bear the name champagne. The region’s sparkling wines are often blends made from Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Champagne’s effervescence arises from a specific, natural vinification method: the méthode champenoise. The bubbles are created during a second fermentation in the bottle – there is no addition of carbon dioxide.

There are different types of champagne, depending on the grape varieties used and in what proportion. The types include:

  • Tradition, which is made by blending the three grape varieties and whose aromatic bouquet varies depending on the champagne house that produces it
  • Blanc de Blancs, which is made exclusively with white grapes, in this case, Chardonnay, renowned for its subtlety and elegance
  • Blanc de Noirs, which is white wine made from black grapes, in this case Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier, making it more powerful and aromatic
  • Rosé, which is either a blend of white and red wine, or a maceration in which the juice is briefly left to macerate with the skin of red grapes. In either case, this results in a fresh and fruity flavour profile with berry notes.


Champagnes can be extra-brut, brut, dry, semi-dry or sweet, depending on the sugar content and vintage. One of the unique characteristics of the Champagne wine region is that most champagnes are blends from different years and so are undated; vintage champagnes issuing from a single year are only made when a harvest is considered exceptional, so these are prestigious champagnes of great character and quality. 

Besides the sparkling wines that have made the region’s international reputation, Champagne also offers excellent still wines which should not be overlooked by those who enjoy elegant wines.

There are two appellations for Champagne’s still wines: Coteaux-Champenois, which includes white, red and rosé wines, and Rosé des Riceys, a unique rosé made from Pinot Noir that is produced only in the village of Les Riceys by a few winemakers.

Wine tourism in Champagne: an exceptional region

The Champagne route is like no other, winding for 700 km through vineyards and prestigious champagne houses, with trails leading to breathtaking views, traditional villages and dramatic chateaux. From Reims to Cuis, via Épernay and Hautvillers, or from Mont Aimé to Épernay, there are endless possibilities for those who want to discover the wine, landscape, cultural and historical treasures of the Champagne region.

to discover the region and its winegrowers on foot, as the Champagne route has a variety of walks of different levels of difficulty that cross the hillsides and vineyards. While you are in the region, take the opportunity to try the cuisine and to pair it with a local wine, still or sparkling. And a stay in Champagne would not be complete without a visit to a champagne house that offers tours to see how champagne is made.

région bourgogne franche comté
domaine domaine champagne

Terra Vitis members in Champagne

Most of our members are located in the south of the Champagne region, around Troyes, in the Côte des Bar sub-region. Terra Vitis members combine Champagne’s traditional savoir-faire with sustainable practices to produce their champagne with methods that respect the region’s expertise while meeting the challenges of the future. The majority of our members have family-run businesses, making champagne from their own grapes, which is unusual in Champagne. Discover the sparkling and still wines of Champagne made sustainably.

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Further information

Official website of Champagne wines

Discover the other Terra Vitis regions

Alcohol abuse is bad for your health, please consume in moderation

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