Process of Champagne Production:



The juice of most grapes is white so the colour of the wine comes only from the skins.  Usually a blend of the juice of white and black grapes is used to make champagne. Blancs de Blanc are the only examples made purely from white grape.  Rose, or pink, champagnes are produced by using some red skins as well as the white.  The black and white grapes are grown in separate vineyards throughout the region.  For example, some black grapes are grown on the slopes of the Montagne de Reims - a hill to the south-west of Reims with its southern point at Epernay - and some white grapes come from the Cotes des Blancs, south of Epernay. There are also extensive vineyards in the valley of the River Marne, downstream of Epernay. Only Blancs de Blanc are made from white grapes only.

    There is a wide variation from year to year in the quality of the grapes, and hence the wine,  that are produced because the vineyards are so far north and the weather is not consistent.  The best Champagnes are 'vintage', i.e. made almost entirely from wines of one good year; non vintage Champagnes  are a blend of good and not so good wines.


After they have been harvested the grapes are pressed.  Whole grapes are  loaded gently into enormous presses and, slowly, the juice is extracted. This occurs three or four times and each time more tannin and colour comes out of the skins, although the actual skins and pulp have to be removed.

First Fermentation

Fermentation takes place in stainless steel cylinders or barrels; where yeast is added to the grape juice  so fermentation can occur. Separate blocks are kept for each vineyard. The yeast feeds on the sugar in the grape juice and releases alcohol (as ethanol), heat and carbon dioxide. In this first fermentation, the CO2 is not important, so it is released via valves in the tanks.

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