For a very long time, Champagne was a still wine, but already quite famous: it was the « royal wine », served at the Reims cathedral for the coronation of the French kings. Then, when it started to become a sparkling wine, the bottles were exploding, and it became the « devil’s wine »…
Nowadays around 16 000 winegrowers and 300 champagne Houses produce every year more than 300 millions of bottles, sold in France but also abroad (190 different countries). There are two main departments for the production, Marne and Aube, but there are three other in the designation of origin: Haute-Marne, Seine-et-Marne and Aisne.
The main grape varieties are the pinot noir (Montagne de Reims, Côte des Bar), the pinot meunier (Epernay and the Marne valley) and the chardonnay (Côte des Blancs and Sézannais). Some very old grape varieties are also cultivated, like the pinot blanc, the pinot gris, the petit meslier and the arbane.
There are two other types of wines (also under designation of origin) in Champagne, which are « coteaux champenois » and « rosé des Riceys », and some traditional spirits like Ratafia, Marc de Champagne, Fine de Champagne but also Prunelle de Troyes.