Wine Book Launch: Liz Palmer’s The Ultimate Guide to Champagne – November 13- 3 pm, New York

imagesJoin New York Champagne Week Founder, Blaine Ashley as she welcomes Journalist, Liz Palmer as she officially debuts her book to NYC: The Ultimate Guide to Champagne. This essential guide takes you to the Champagne region, explores its culture and honors it’s history. Chalk full of beautiful pictures, this equally informative read provides tips for traveling the region, breaks down grape varieties and styles, Grand Marques / Growers and Cooperatives, harvest and viticulture. The guide also covers food pairings, how to cook with Champagne and how to taste and identify flavors. Readers will also explore Champagne Etiquette and Style, tips for weddings, the Economics of Champagne and it’s health benefits, yes, HEALTH BENEFITS! Come on, come all to enjoy the final day of the 4th Annual New York Champagne Week with The Ultimate Guide to Champagne. Champagne Bulle de Reve will be served.


Global Coalition to Protect Wine Place Names Adds 20th Member

The South Australian wine region of Barossa became the latest signatory of the Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin, a global movement to ensure wine place names are protected and not abused or miscommunicated to consumers. The coalition welcomed Barossa on Friday at a meeting in San Francisco, where members discussed how to build on the coalition’s recent successful effort to protect place names online.

SF Declaration Meeting 28-October-2016.jpg

“Over the last year, our coalition has expanded its work to protect wine place names globally, including online where consumers increasingly shop for the wines they love,” said Linda Reiff, president and CEO of the Napa Valley Vintners wine trade association, one of the founding signatories to the Declaration. “We are proud to have another esteemed winemaking region join our collective efforts to ensure consumers aren’t misled and that the identity of a wine’s place is protected.”

In January 2016, American-based Internet name registry Donuts launched the new .wine and .vin domain extensions. Prior to the launch, members of the Declaration worked with Donuts on an agreement that put safeguards in place to ensure the extensions could not be falsely used to mislead consumers. On the heels of this effort, representatives from Barossa attended last week’s coordinating meetings with other Declaration members and will participate in activities that were outlined for the coming year.

“We are honored to join this remarkable group of leading world wine regions dedicated to protecting place names. Barossa wines, like all those represented in this coalition, are unique in representing their sense of place,” said James March, CEO of the Barossa Grape & Wine Association. “Despite our fierce competition in the worldwide marketplace, we all agree that location is the most important ingredient in creating truly unique and distinctive wines.”

Text Box: Members from the Declaration gather around Barossa representative Anne Moroney at a meeting in San Francisco on October 28.Since it was first signed in 2005, the Declaration efforts have led to increasing attention around the protection of wine place names. For example, this year five winery members of the Napa Valley Vintners announced that they are voluntarily giving up use of the name Port on their fortified dessert wine labels. While the producers have the legal right to use the term because they were grandfathered following the signing of the 2006 U.S. and European Commission Wine Trade Agreement, each agreed to abandon use of the semi-generic term in support of Napa Valley’s efforts to protect winemaking place names and its alliance with Porto in the Declaration. 

For more information, visit or follow the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

About the Declaration

The Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place Names & Origin was signed in Napa Valley on July 26, 2005. The signatories of the Declaration include: Barossa, Bordeaux, Bourgogne/Chablis, Champagne, Chianti Classico, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, Long Island, Napa Valley, Oregon, Paso Robles, Porto, Rioja, Santa Barbara County, Sonoma County, Victoria, Tokaj, Walla Walla Valley, Washington state, Willamette Valley and Western Australia. To lend support and read the full text of the Declaration visit


Book Review: Liz Palmer’s The Ultimate Guide To Champagne

liz1There is much more to champagne than the drink – Champagne is named after the region where it is grown, fermented and bottled. Liz Palmer’s essential guide takes you to this region, explores its culture and honours its history. Unlike any other book about Champagne, The Ultimate Guide To Champagne is the most comprehensive and visually stunning guide you’ll ever come across – in these pages you’ll discover: Over 220 Engaging Photos, Maps, Detailed Charts, and Historical Anecdotes How to Explore the Region Grape Varieties and Styles Grand Marques / Growers and Cooperatives The Annual Viticulture Cycle, Harvest and Production Champagne and Food Pairing Guides How to Cook with Champagne Recipes from Champagne Families How to Taste and Identify Flavors How to describe and Rate Champagne How to Shop, Store and Serve Champagne Etiquette & Style Tips for Weddings International Champagne Bars The Economics of Champagne Health Benefits Science Facts Extensive Glossaries and much more… The Ultimate Guide To Champagne is highly recommended for everyone, from beginners to experts. It’s a remarkable point of reference into which any wine lover or professional can dip in and browse. The Champagne Bible for ALL wine lovers. So pop open your favorite Champagne, pour yourself a glass, and start reading The Ultimate Guide To Champagne!

Liz Palmer’s The Ultimate Guide To Champagne has garnered praise from numerous influential wine journalists, and other industry peers, here is a list some recent reviews:

“Liz, What a beautiful book!”
Frédéric Mairesse — Managing Director, Champagne Barons de Rothschild

“Liz, What a huge and perfect achievement. Very complete, beautifully designed, clear and well written. It will be a “must have” for wine lovers. Sure  it will have the biggest success. My warmest congratulations for this remarkable contribution to Champagne prestige.”
Representative of Comité Champagne – France

“I’m so proud of this – beautifully done and well represented!”
Representative of Business France – Canada

“The Ultimate Guide to Champagne is a fantastic gift book for anyone who loves champagne. Liz Palmer has really done her research in accumulating fascinating data, interesting fun facts and tantalizing photos for this lovely book about the effervescent world of champagne. Without hesitation, I give it 5 stars.”
Doreen Pendgracs – Author, Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate – Canada

“Amongst well-known champagne authors like Michael Edwards and Tom Stevenson we can now add Liz Palmer from Canada. The ‘Ultimate Guide to Champagne’ is so comprehensive that Liz must has lived and worked like a monk the past years when she wrote it. Whatever you are looking for, you will find it here! It is well-written and is perfect for your nightstand! If it’s not on your nightstand, put it somewhere so you have easy access! I really loved it!”
Dr. Charlotte van Zummeren WA –,
International Wine Judge – Netherlands

“That’s what I called The Ultimate Guide! This book must inspire both amateurs and professionals. One could start reading any page and end up by the whole book. From history, science facts and health benefits through tourism and collecting to christening boats, corporate functions, weddings… Vinously good buy!”
Dr. Martin Kristek – Czech Republic

“You can judge this book by its cover. The title might be considered a hostage to fortune but it is not an idle boast, this really is a thorough and complete guide to Champagne the region and champagne the wine. You can ‘cover-judge’ it further by the simple, stylish design, which heralds similar style in the layout and presentation of every page that follows. It’s classy and elegant, easy on the eye and easy to navigate too. Liz’s enthusiasm has served her well, for the task of researching and collating such a massive compendium of facts and figures, tales and anecdotes must have been daunting. To then present it in such a user-friendly fashion is another achievement. The Ultimate Guide To Champagne is never weighty or intimidating, you can open it at any page, dip in for five minutes – which will turn into an hour – and each time you will come up with another nugget: a fun fact, a historical anecdote, the name of a favoured restaurant, a good place to stay a few nights. This is not an in-depth treatise weighed down with tinder dry statistics and the like, but rather an impressive assemblage of information and detail that is particularly suited to anybody planning to visit the region. It is commendably thorough and in time it will surely find a place on the bookshelves of all champagne enthusiasts. Liz Palmer’s Ultimate Guide To Champagne does exactly what it says on the tin. And then some.”
Raymond Blake — Wine Editor, Food & Wine Magazine
and Author, Breakfast in Burgundy
– Ireland

“An extremely comprehensive yet easy to read and very approachable guide to the world of Champagne bringing together everything from history to production, bottles to etiquette, cooking to tourism and much more. Interspersed with anecdotes, facts, tips and notes, this concise guide is the ultimate reference for champagne lovers!”
Sarah Flook –
Champagne-Ardenne Tourisme – France

“The name of the book made me wonder, using the word Ultimate is a wrong and precise word, however after been through the book, I do agree with the title “The Ultimate Guide To Champagne” – here are my findings:

  • the history of Champagne and the Champagne region are very well documented;
  • the break-down of chapters is excellent and make easy for the reader to find the right information immediately;
  • the book is comprehensive related to the wine production, and the region to please professionals and Champagne lovers at the same time;
  • a lot of technical matters presented to please all curious minds;
  • all leading Champagne houses are mentioned;
  • If you like figures on production, sales, export etc… there are enough to make you an expert overnight;
  • Interesting chapter on food and champagne pairing for sommeliers;
  • Bio dynamic/ Organic farming is also well presented;
  • Champagne Tourism is a chapter you never find in any other wine books.
    Germain Lehode – finalist in the Best Sommelier World Competition France and South Africa

“This is an invaluable reference for the serious student as well as the everyday wine lover, filled as it is with vital statistics and fun facts. Liz has put an enormous amount of work into this book and has striven to include all sorts of information such as places to stay and eat which makes this a one-stop shop, a must-carry for anyone travelling to the region. There is a wealth of information on the region, and the problems it faces, as well as advice on buying, storing and serving and much, much more besides.

I have to confess that I reviewed the soft-copy of this so I don’t know how much it actually weighs but it must be close to being worth its weight in gold in terms of the information contained therein. Well done, Liz – now take a well-earned rest with a glass of some of the finest bubbles you have in your cellar!”
Dermot Nolan MW (Master of Wine) – Dublin

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CHAMPAGNE by Liz Palmer is a novelty in non-fiction dealing with wine culture.  Recently published, it represents a contribution to illuminating the phenomenon of Champagne as the terroir, as a tourist destination, as world’s most famous wine brand…..

Liz Palmer, a journalist and columnist brought up in Canada, has written a book on Champagne! Isn’t that reserved for the French only? Can someone who is not French, who was not brought up there undertake such a task? Obviously, the answer is positive.

Numerous travels throughout Champagne, visiting winemakers, restaurants, cultural events and wine tastings formed a basis as well as an inspiration which encouraged Liz to do research, to put into writing her many impressions and valuable experience.

Such a book cannot be written without love for wine, love for sparkling wine, and love for champagne. That love and personal pleasure have been converted into an inspiring, seductive, and stimulating text which makes one do their own research to confirm the author’s experience.

Such a book cannot be written without profound knowledge. Liz has obviously devoted a lot of work, effort and study to it in order to reach the heart of the matter and to present to the reader detailed information about the product itself, as well as about other elements which constitute the phenomenon of Champagne.

Liz writes down her impressions with warmth and soul, and yet systematically, comprehensively and clearly.

Everything sparkles with information but it is not tedious; it captures attention, entices and prompts to explore on one’s own in the quest for pleasure. Written from the angle of a visitor to Champagne, in its approach the book encourages the reader to take one’s own journey, to discover the beauty of the destination, its wine, gastronomy and cultural events.

Apart from the usual chapters dealing with the history, vineyard surface areas, grape varieties, pedology, there are also those analyzing vineyard technology, enological processes, and significant wine producers. It is important to point out chapters with tourist information, restaurants, food and wine pairing, the health aspect.

An added value is provided to the book by the superb photography, quotes and sayings by both famous and unknown authors, rich wine vocabulary and wine descriptions.

It is a book that can be used daily, a book which can be a literal, very practical guide for both beginners and for already experienced wine lovers. Experts of various fields can also find valuable information, refresh their knowledge and learn something as well.

This is a very valuable publication, not only at the level of wine and dine culture, but as a relevant general culture book.  Therefore it should be a part of the book collection of every modern individual who appreciates value.”
Franjo FrancemOenologist,  Educator
and VP of the Croatian Sommelier Club

“The Ultimate Guide to Champagne is undeniably true to its name. The book consists of 22 chapters covering everything from the region’s history and viticulture, to tourism information, gastronomy and even the wine’s health benefits. And while there is an enormous amount of information being provided, it still manages to entertain, largely because all of the factual material provided is combined with a beautifully designed layout that makes sifting through the information both accessible and effortless.

Liz Palmer credits Paris-based company Hachetag Agence de Communication à Reims et Paris with such a reader-friendly design pointing to the fact that both partners of the firm live in the area and grew up in and around the industry. That local knowledge combined with Palmer’s passion for the region has resulted in a comprehensive guide that we believe will appeal to wide array of readers. Wine and champagne enthusiasts will be particularly interested in the early chapters dedicated to history and regional information; people in wine clubs will enjoy the chapters dedicated to tasting and collecting; sommeliers will be sure to reference the science facts and academic details, corporate event planners and wedding industry professionals will appreciate the separate guides for events (including a detailed index); and tour guides will welcome the personal tips and recommendations provided by both the author’s own visits and Champagne-Ardenne Tourisme.

Palmer’s passion for Champagne is evident in both the care and effort she has put into this publication and the fact she has two other Champagne-related books in the works. When asked what it is about Champagne that draws her, she doesn’t hesitate in her response, “Champagne is not only one of the world’s most famous wines, it’s quite complex and is rich in history—this is something I wanted to explore.” She adds, “It is also a beautiful region in France, full of vineyards, historic cellars (which are now listed as world heritage sites by UNESCO), and is conveniently close to Paris. And of course, rising mysteriously in every glass are streams of tiny perfect bubbles!”

Palmer’s writing style combines the readability of simple language with plenty of detail on the facts of the region. Text is broken up with sidebars that provide more technical detail about the region. Not everyone will be as interested in the number of acres under vines in each village. Those that are not can skip the sidebars without losing the flow of her text while those that are will find the book richly rewarding.

The Ultimate Guide to Champagne satisfies a large audience. Readers new to the subject will get a thorough overview without being bogged down by the feeling of having read a text book. Experts on the region will appreciate the numerous facts presented in the sidebars and fullness of the detail afforded to each topic. The list of Champagne quotes is voluminous and adds levity, while the description of each vintage’s weather conditions going back to the 1950s demonstrates the seriousness with which she treats her topic. As for her favourite quote on Champagne Palmer cites none other than Winston Churchill, “A single glass of champagne imparts a feeling of exhilaration. The nerves are braced; the imagination is stirred, the wits become more nimble.” We’ll drink (champagne) to that!”
Allison Wallace – Director, Media & Communications,
t Centre Canada

“Far more than just a basic romp from grape to glass, Elizabeth Palmer’s Ultimate Guide to Champagne takes an in-depth look at the region, its history, people and wines.  From viticulture to winemaking, the region unfolds with each page, well illustrated and annotated, adding life to this famous wine. Take this book with you on any trip to Champagne and you will know where to stay, where to eat and which Houses to visit.  Then taste the wine, its nuances and depth of flavour and match it with the perfect canapés and recipes.”
Christine Austin – Wine Writer for The Yorkshire Post
International Wine Challenge (Panel Chair) – London

“What a titanic work you’ve done putting this book together! Everything and more that one needs to know about Champagne!

The Ultimate Guide to Champagne is exhilarating like ten million Champagne bubbles in your glass. Unlike many books of its genre, the guide urges for action, be it opening a bottle or planning a journey to the world’s most fabulous wine region. Liz Palmer’s fact-packed pages feature plenty of practical tips, curiosities and even style advice ensuring that the book will be a Champagne lover’s best companion on many different occasions.”
Eleonora Scholes,, Publisher
Member of The Grand Jury Européen – Russia

“An attractive, well laid out and thorough guide to Champagne – the region and the wines. Packed with facts for hard-core wine geeks and students whilst also being an accessible and up to date guidebook for wine tourists.”
Jenny Mackenzie –
@JennyMMackenzie – London

Amazon + Kindle

“The Ultimate Guide To Champagne” Launch at Le Dokhan’s, Paris

14632893_1231555573576023_1853317179271174336_n-2“The Ultimate Guide To Champagne” was revealed and launched to a select group of industry people in Paris last week.

The event was held at Le Dokhan’s, Paris – which is Parisian Institution. This classic 18th century hotel features an elevator which is upholstered in vintage canvas from Louis Vuitton trunks; the Salon Cheminée, was a wonderful gathering space and was adorned with original engravings by Picasso and Matisse. How could it be so perfect!  Moving over to the Champagne Bar, it should be noted that, Bar Le Dokhan’s was the first Champagne bar in Paris to serve Champagne exclusively (this was mentioned in “The Ultimate Guide To Champagne”. With an extensive champagne list, Bar Le Dokhan’s currently offers 200 varieties of premium Champagne.

In attendance at the launch was Fabrice Martin, General Manager of Le Dokhan’s Hotel, Nicolas Manfredini, Co-fondateur Hachetag Agency, Paris and Matthias Breton, Head Sommelier.  They highly praised how beautiful the book looked and the extensive knowledge inside. Thumbing through chapters, sipping grower champagne, Liz Palmer gave a brief history of how the book came about and the chapter outlines.



About the book:

There is much more to champagne than the drink – Champagne is named after the region where it is grown, fermented and bottled.  This essential guide takes you to this region, explores its culture and honours its history.

Unlike any other book about Champagne, The Ultimate Guide To Champagne is the most comprehensive and visually stunning guide you’ll ever come across – in these pages you’ll discover:

Over 220 Engaging Photos, Maps, Detailed Charts, and Historical Anecdotes

How to Explore the Region

Grape Varieties and Styles

Grand Marques / Growers and Cooperatives, The Annual Viticulture Cycle, Harvest and Production, Champagne and Food Pairing Guides

How to Cook with Champagne

Recipes from Champagne Families

How to Taste and Identify Flavors

How to describe and Rate Champagne

How to Shop, Store and Serve

Champagne Etiquette & Style

Tips for Weddings

International Champagne Bars

The Economics of Champagne

Health Benefits

Science Facts

Extensive Glossaries

and much more…

The Ultimate Guide To Champagne is highly recommended for everyone, from beginners to experts.  It’s a remarkable point of reference into which any wine lover or professional can dip in and browse.

The Champagne Bible for ALL wine lovers.

So pop open your favorite Champagne, pour yourself a glass, and start reading The Ultimate Guide To Champagne!


One of North America’s leading experts on Champagne, Liz Palmer wrote The Ultimate Guide To Champagne with a strong personal passion for Champagne and the region.

Amazon Books  :


Champagne Announces 2016 Harvest Dates


The Champagne region has announced the start dates for the 2016 harvest.  Commencing today (September 12) through to September 26h there will be over 120,000 pickers, porters, loaders and press operators descend on the vineyards of Champagne for the harvest – the moment every winegrower has been waiting for.

Each harvest is different in terms of grape ripeness, potential alcohol levels and natural acidity – so picking the right moment to harvest is essential.

A ripening observation network for the accurate timing of harvests.

Twice a week, just as the grapes start to change colour (véraison), samples are taken from some 450 control plots spread throughout the Champagne area. The selected clusters are then checked for rate of colour change; average weight; estimated sugar and total acidity content; also for any incidence of grey rot.

The results are transmitted the same day via internet, so allowing the Comité Champagne to establish reference values for each parcel of vines, together with mean average values (potential alcohol levels and natural acidity) for each department and grape variety.

A data summary is then notified to the technical officers concerned, starting with the regional heads of the AVC (Association Viticole Champenoise). This enables them to attend the pre-harvest meeting with a very clear idea of when picking should start in their respective communes.

It is the pulp that contains the organoleptic compounds and elements required for effervescence (sugar, acidity, etc); and only pulp alone can deliver the desired clear, pale juice, bearing in mind that 3/4 of Champagne wines are made from black grapes. Pulp extraction is specifically designed to avoid colouring or staining the musts when pressing black-skinned grapes.

Hence the need for manual picking, selecting whole, undamaged clusters that must remain that way right up to the point of pressing itself. The clusters are transported to the press house in purpose-made bins with drainage holes that allow any juice to escape, so preventing the berries from macerating in their own juice.

Manual picking remains the tradition in Champagne – the requirement for whole, undamaged grapes is the same today as it was in the 18th Century.

Pickers have roughly a three-week window in which to work – beyond that point the grapes will be past their best. Just to complicate matters, all Champagne grapes reach their peak of ripeness at about the same time.

Some 120,000 pickers work in teams (‘hordons’ in French) of four per hectare, of which nearly 100,000 are given bed and board by the Winegrowers and Champagne Houses.

Harvesting employs:

  • Pickers
  • Porters (of grape bins)
  • Loaders (of bins)
  • Loaders of bins onto trailers
  • Loading bay handlers
  • Drivers
  • Forklift truck operators
  • Press operators
  • Fermenting room operators
  • And Cooks

Maximum yield per hectare

Yield regulation

  • The harvest base yield fixed by the INAO is 10,400 kg/ha, revisable upwards or downwards depending on the quality and quantity of the yield but capped at 15,500 kg/ha for AOC production.
  • The rationale for capping yields lies in the high-density planting system in Champagne, with vines planted very close together (8,000 per hectare) to improve ripening and therefore quality. Limited juice extraction – just 102 litres of must per 160 kg of grapes – is a key part of this policy and brings the final yield to 66 hectolitres per hectare.

The full list of dates can be viewed here