A historic province of France
Champagne is a historic province of France, formed in 1065 by Count Palatine, who brought together various counties that had resulted from the dismantling of the western piece of Merovingian Austrasia (eastern France). Centred around Provins, the third-largest city in the Kingdom of France, Champagne covered the former Champagne-Ardenne administrative region, the southern portion of the department of Aisne and most of the Seine-et-Marne department, all the way to Brie française. To the west, it extended to Brie mouvante, which is bounded by the north shore of the Yerres and the Via Agrippa. To the north, the ever-changing border with the Principality of Liège included Sugny and excluded Givet. This territory gave its name to the Champagne wine region.
The Champagne wine-growing area covers approximately 3,400 hectares, which accounts for 4% of all of France’s vineyards. The vines are primarily concentrated in Marne (67%), around Reims and Épernay, but also in Aube (23%) and beyond in Aisne, Haute-Marne and Seine-et-Marne. This is the Champagne area as defined and delimited by French law (the appellation was issued in 1927). Thus, the only wines that can legitimately bear the Champagne name are those that are grown and vinified here.
The Champagne appellation applies to 319 villages (the “Crus”), of which 17 qualify as “Grands Crus” and 42 as “Premiers Crus.” There are four main wine-growing areas: Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne, Côte des Blancs (in Marne) and Côte des Bar (in Aube). Some 15,000 winegrowers, 150 cooperatives and more than 300 estates work together within the Champagne appellation.
Source: Tourisme Champagne Ardenne