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Champagne explained: Have you ever wondered what the fuss is all about?

In the South African market, most Champagne lovers are usually very well accustomed to the big name brands such as ‘Moet’ and ‘Veuve Clicquot’ which are widely available in the market.

But Champagne is not just a generic term for something you drink when celebrating a special occasion, but is a protected name of a sparkling wine produced from grapes grown within a specifically defined area in France. A sparkling wine from anywhere other than this particular region can thus not be called champagne.

The Champagne region is the most northerly located of the AOC wine regions in France, lying 145 kilometres northeast of Paris. No other wine growing region can challenge Champagne’s claim to produce the world’s greatest sparkling wine, because no other area resembles this twilight zone where the vine struggles to ripen grapes each year. This is mainly because of the unique climate paired with the lime-rich chalk soil. Its location at the northern edge of the French winemaking belt stretches the duration of the vine’s growth cycle to the limit, making frost a major problem during spring and autumn.

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