Champagne grape production

I just found some notes I had jotted down during my recent trip to Champagne and thought I’d jot them here for posterity. Mostly the notes followed the trip around the Malakoff vineyards with Franck Mazy.

Franck told us that each year a hectare of Champagne vineyard costs around EUR25,000 just to maintain, plus about EUR3,000 in harvest costs. Assuming a typical yield of 11 tonnes per hectare that’s over EUR2,500 per tonne (obviously excluding any capital investment). One of the group said he thought the comparable number for English vineyards was about half that.

A hectare takes about 500 man hours per year. A “good” picker will pick 500kg of fruit per day. Champagne planting density is often around 10,000 vines per hectare, though Franck said he thought 4,000-5,000 vines per hectare would be much better from a yield/quality/value perspective, but CIVC rules do not allow this.

Emma Rice

And lastly, a picture of the irrepressible Emma Rice who was with us on the SEVA trip to Champagne. Emma runs the excellent Custom Crush and is also winemaker at Hattingley. Unfortunately, as you can see from the picture above, Emma got stuck in a hole in a vineyard somewhere in Champagne and we had to leave her. She’s still smiling, though. She’ll be a valuable addition to Champagne. Or rather, if we’re lucky she’ll make it back soon.


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