Harvest Begins in Champagne

The opening dates of the 2019 harvest in Champagne have been announced, for all the villages and departments of the appellation.

The CIVC states: “The 2019 campaign has been marked by climatic shocks, with cool and humid periods alternating with hot and sometimes hot periods. Since the buds hatched, nature and some of the vine’s enemies have drained some of the initial harvest potential. Compared to other vintages, this year the grapes have more acidity and less color to the same degree (sugar richness). Aromatic maturity will therefore probably only be reached with high potential degrees, in the order of 10.5% flight. for Chardonnays and Black Pinots and 10% vol. for Meuniers”

The harvest, which began in Champagne this week, looks to be lower than in previous years. The vines of Champagne saw everything this year, from cold and rain to drought and heat, with the previous record for sunshine hours broken in February.

Spring frosts between early April and early May destroyed the vine buds across around 1,000 ha of vineyards, equivalent to three percent of the vineyard area. The heat and drought periods that began in June did not affect the vines.

The yield available for vinification this year was limited to 10,200 kg per hectare, which is slightly lower than in 2018 (10,800 kg per hectare).

The grapes from vintage 2019 show high acidity, but balanced color and sugar. In order to achieve the aromatic ripeness desired in Champagne, the grapes require a minimum alcohol content of 10.5% by volume for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and 10.0% by volume for Meunier.

Champagne harvesting is done exclusively by hand to guarantee the integrity of the fruit for whole cluster pressing. The harvest is supported by 120,000 workers.

Source CIVC

Champagne Mumm Launches Zero-Gravity Bottle Design

It took three years of research and experimentation to develop Mumm Grand

It took three years of research and experimentation to develop Mumm Grand Cordon Stellar, the first champagne designed to be tasted in space. For this world premiere, Maison Mumm symbolically chose to fly over the vineyards of Reims to present its innovation during a zero-gravity flight.

Science Serving Champagne

Maison Mumm’s goal was to take champagne into space while maintaining its integrity – that is to say, respecting its aromas, the tasting ritual and the specifications of the AOC. The Maison was the first to take an interest in the scientific constraints that the absence of gravity could pose on a gaseous liquid. To explore the possibilities, Maison Mumm called upon Octave de Gaulle, founder of SPADE, a design agency specializing in creating objects for use in space, and assembled a team of experts (engineers, researchers, astronauts and oenologists) to work alongside him.

Driving this exceptional scientific adventure forward, Maison Mumm worked in close collaboration with Jean-François Clervoy (French ESA astronaut, veteran of three NASA space missions) and Gérard Liger-Belair (professor at the University of Reims, a world-renowned researcher specializing in the physiochemistry of the effervescence of champagne). With their knowledge of the dynamics of fluids and capillary action, they were able to understand the terrestrial behaviors of Mumm Grand Cordon champagne.

They faced many challenges: without the effects of gravity, the main difficulties were expelling the liquid from the bottle, capturing it once it came out and finally, how to drink it. To help solve these questions, professor Liger-Belair made twenty years of research related to the creation of bubbles in champagne available to Maison Mumm. He also led a study to predict the behavior of champagne in zero gravity.

SPADE worked on a prototype for the bottle based on theories put forward by the two scientific experts on the team to create several models which were tested in realistic conditions during three parabolic flights between April 2017 and February 2018.

A High-Tech Design

At this level of innovation, every element is essential, starting with materials which, for some, could impact the flavor, the expulsion of carbon dioxide or even the formation of bubbles in the wine.

SPADE selected the glass, the aeronautical-grade aluminum and the stainless steel (the same metal found in the assembly vats at Mumm Grand Cordon in Reims) for their ability to adhere to complex specifications. The double cavity of the glass bottle, the mechanized system contained within it, the ring mounted on the cork and the unique tapered-stem glasses were all carefully considered to reproduce the terrestrial tasting ritual as loyally as possible.

New Taste Sensations

It is in the extreme conditions of zero gravity that Mumm Grand Cordon takes on new, surprising taste characteristics and unexpected sensations in the mouth. Wine exits the bottle as a foam to be inhaled, rather than sipped. This emulsion then turns to liquid, which coats the palate and tongue as capillary action takes effect. “By releasing the power of Pinot Noir, the weightlessness concentrates and intensifies Mumm Grand Cordon’s signature style. The expression of fruit is more accomplished than it is on Earth,” explained Raimonds Tomsons, Best Sommelier in Europe 2017, who also participated in the first official zero-gravity tasting of Mumm Grand Cordon Stellar in Reims.

A Pioneering Spirit

Innovation and daring have been integral to Maison Mumm since its foundation. Exploring new territories like space was a big challenge but one that the Maison took on with passion. “Maison Mumm likes to push the boundaries and has been a leader in its field ever since its foundation. As such, Maison Mumm is a natural supporter of both the pioneers of yesterday and those of the future. In 1904, Maison Mumm was present on board with Commander Jean-Baptiste Charcot to celebrate the first successful French expedition to the Antarctic. Tomorrow, Maison Mumm will accompany passengers to space on this unique adventure,” said Pierre Bérard, Global Marketing Director.

This project goes far beyond the bounds of the Maison. It not only allows the wine to be revealed differently but ensures that champagne is part of the future of space exploration with the advent of space tourism and the first commercial suborbital flights. Beyond champagne, Maison Mumm has made a considerable contribution of the behavior and the tasting of fizzy drinks in space, opening up new horizons.

Dare, win and celebrate

Pushing the boundaries of possibility, daring, taking on challenges and looking ahead are both what this innovation represents for Maison Mumm, and what has always driven it – just like Usain Bolt, the Maison’s C.E.O. (Chief Entertainment Officer) since 2016. Usain Bolt was, of course, present in Reims, alongside the Mumm, for this momentous occasion. During the parabolic flight, he discovered the pleasures of champagne in zero gravity, before returning to Earth to celebrate, during a one of a kind party in the Mumm cellars.


The Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa Opens

“Follow the road of the golden bubbles”

 Champagne’s first contemporary luxury hotel, The Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa officially opened this week.

Embracing the lush bounty of the champagne houses and the surrounding UNESCO World Heritage sites, guests will have exclusive access to private Champagne houses, harvesting sessions with local wine producers and tastings personally curated by the in-house concierge team.

The Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa boasts an enviable location right in the middle of the vineyards that stripe the hills of Epernay, the capital of Champagne, and the historic villages of Champillon and Hautvillers of Dom Perignon fame. Reimagining a wine-country retreat for all seasons, local Reims-based architect Giovanni Pace has designed the property in the style of a contemporary amphitheatre, incorporating the original 19th Century Post House where it is said that King Charles X of France stopped over before heading to Reims for his coronation.

‘Champagne’ rooms start at £489.92 per night feature a king-size bed and private terrace.

The top tier ‘Josephine’ suite meanwhile, will set you back £1,068.71 a night and boasts a sitting room and balcony overlooking vineyards.

Each of the 49 rooms in the 16,000 square foot space features Hermès bath products.

The original property has been closed since 2014 after it was acquired by Boston-based Champagne Hospitality collection, a group of boutique luxury hotels and spas that includes the award-winning Le Barthelemy Hotel & Spa in St. Barths. The hotel is led by Nicolas Béliard, formerly General Manager of the Peninsula Paris.

Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa is home to the region’s first world-class destination spa spanning 16,000 ft. In partnership with acclaimed French brand Biologique Recherche, the wellness centre comprises nine treatment rooms; state of the art fitness facilities; a wood-lined yoga studio; eucalyptus-infused sauna; manicure and pedicure stations, and a mosaic-tiled Hammam. Completing the experience are two temperature-controlled, chaise longue-lined swimming pools – one indoor, one outdoor – along with dedicated staff who deliver invigorating juice blends and guide guests to multiple relaxation lounges. Biologique Recherche offers a highly personalised approach, with signature treatments including the ‘Soin seconde peau / Second skin treatment’, a regenerating and lifting facial treatment. All products are formulated using pure natural or biotechnological compounds and are fragrance free. Spa packages and retreats will also be available throughout the year.

Two-star Michelin chef Jean-Denis Rieubland is the Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa’s Executive Chef, where he leads the two gastronomic dining experiences – a gourmet dining room, Le Royal, and a more casual, all-day restaurant, Bellevue. Formerly Executive Chef of Le Chantecler at the Negresco Hotel in Nice, Chef Rieubland brings the highest level of gastronomy to Royal Champagne, where he will preserve French ‘know-how’ while injecting a contemporary touch. Rieubland’s cuisine is influenced by the local surroundings, working closely with farm producers of the region. He will also be developing a Chef’s garden on a large terrace overlooking the hills of Épernay.


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 – winebusiness.nl,
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, spaziovino.com, 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 – Earlybirdwinenews.com
@JennyMMackenzie – London




Amazon + Kindle https://goo.gl/WWxt7u


The First Annual La Champenoise (the Celebration of Champagne) Takes place this Weekend in Reims, France

Unknown-1The first annual La Champenoise (the Celebration of Champagne) takes place this weekend, June 25 and 26 in beautiful, historical Reims, France.

There will be over 70 champagne houses and growers, along with 10 local gastronomy providers, who will be introducing their wines and products to locals, tourists, and wine professionals.

La Champenoise takes place in mythical Halles du Marché du Boulingrin. It’s also known for its architectural and historical presence, and has recently been restored.

Founders, Matthias Collard , Franck Moussié and Benjamin Carteret combined their experience in event organizing, tourism and Champagne and decided a few years ago that Reims needed a festival similar to the wine festivals held in Burgundy and Bordeaux.

“All the major French wine regions have their celebration, sometimes even at an international level… Champagne is the most festive and friendly wine there is, and we wish to celebrate it with this event that unites all the players involved in its production, whether it is trading houses, cooperatives or independent winemakers,” explains Franck one of the founding entrepreneurs of the project.

La Champenoise

Les Halles du Boulingrin

50 rue de Mars

51100 Reims



Entrance for Saturday June 25, 7pm-1am: €15

Entrance for Sunday June 26, 11am-8pm: €15

2 day pass: €25