Champagne Grower-producers: the beginning of the end?

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Are our beloved Champagne growers on a path to extinction? A concerned Tyson Stelzer reports...

Cuvées produced by grower-producer Gaston Chiquet. Credit: Gaston Chiquet
Cuvées produced by grower-producer Gaston Chiquet. Credit: Gaston Chiquet

Forces are at play that threaten the survival of Champagne’s grower-producers. The global economy, erratic harvests, incentives from négociants and even the French taxation system itself are driving growers to sell all their fruit, some to relinquish their status and become négociants, and others to sell up altogether.

The rise of the grower-producer has revolutionised this generation in Champagne. Recent decades have seen the little guy step forward to demonstrate that top Champagne is no longer the exclusive realm of the big players. Champagne is not just oceanic blends from everywhere, but single crus and individual vineyards, tended, crafted, matured and presented lovingly to the world by the same pair of hands.

Oh, how we have celebrated. Champagne’s grower-producers are the darlings of sommeliers and hip bars the world over; the prize of the most fanatical Champagne purists.

Translated by ICY

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