This morning I visited the CIVC, the industry body which represents Champagne growers and houses. They are a powerful body who effectively have the power of law in Champagne. The CIVC is funded by a tax on both growers and houses, to the total of about EUR20m a year. Amongst other things they legislate to determine production methods and protect the brand worldwide. It was the latter which left the biggest impression on me given the strangely heavy focus the topic received in the presentation I saw. “Champagne” is only for Champagne, right!
I also learned some basic facts, such as the harvest yield is about 10-12 tonnes/hectare, and land costs about EUR1m per hectare. I already knew that Great Britain is the biggest importer of Champagne, but not the scale of this “lead”. Annual Champagne exports (in order) are: GB (35m), USA (17m), Germany (13m), Belgium (9m), Japan (7m) and so on. Apparently only half the 35m is actually drunk in Great Britain, with the other half finding its way to be re-exported elsewhere.
The lovely tasting room at Plumpton College is said to have taken inspiration from that at the CIVC pictured here. Inspiration, yes, but I think their budget is a tad higher.