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The three main grape varieties in champagne are pinot noir (black), meunier (black) and chardonnay (white).

Each grape variety has special characteristics, which add something to the champagne;

pinot noir gives champagne body and structure, meunier makes

champagne lively and fruity and chardonnay provides elegance and finesse.

In the Champagne region, 38% of the vineyard surface is planted with pinot noir, 31% with chardonnay and 31% with meunier.


Four other grape varieties are allowed in the production of champagne, but they only make up for 0.3% of the vineyard area.

These are arbane, petit meslier, pinot gris/fromenteau and pinot blanc.

People often talk about the percentage of chardonnay, pinot noir and/or meunier in a champagne.


Yet there are big differences in the character of, for example, a chardonnay from grand cru Cramant or from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, both located in the Côte des Blancs.

These differences are determined, among other things, by the terroir.

Pinot noir druif champagne.jpg
Pinot noir druif champagne.jpg
Pinot noir


Pinot noir has an important role in champagne. It is a fragile variety, that ripens early and therefore it can easily suffer from spring frost.


The compact shape, in combination with the thin skin , also makes pinot noir sensitive to rot. However, it is a grape that can produce exquisite wines and it is therefore highly valued.

Pinot noir is often planted on oilier limestone soils.


The red wine that is used to make rosé champagne, as well as the red 'still' wines from Champagne (Coteaux Champenois) are almost always made from pinot noir.

 Alexandre Couvreux

 Alexandre Couvreux

AC - Chardonnay druiven.jpg


Chardonnay is probably the grape variety that is most highly appreciated in Champagne, but is (still) least planted. However, chardonnay vines are increasingly being planted to replace other grape varieties.


Chardonnay thrives on chalky soils. It is the most important grape variety in the Côte des Blancs.


Chardonnay buds early and is therefore sensitive to spring frost. It is a particularly versatile grape and, like pinot noir, has great development potential.

AC - Chardonnay druiven.jpg

 Alexandre Couvreux

Oogst champagne 2020.png
Oogst champagne 2020.png


Meunier is hardy, which is important in the Champagne region.

The  bud burst happens later and therefore meunier is less affected by frost.


Meunier matures earlier than chardonnay and pinot noir and the yield per hectare is higher.

It is a variety that is cherished by many champagne winegrowers and that is increasingly in the spotlight. 


Most of the Meunier grapes come from the Vallée de la Marne.

 Alexandre Couvreux


There are 319 municipalities in the Champagne region that are allowed to produce champagne; the 'crus'. The 17 best crus have the status of 'grand cru': Due to the high quality of the grapes, the winegrowers in these municipalities receive 100% of the established price per kilo of grapes.

There are 42 'premiers crus', which receive between 90-99% of the grape price. The other crus receive 80-89%. Of the total vineyard area in Champagne, 13% is classified as grand cru and 18% as premier cru.

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