The Champagne wine region boasts a strong tradition of involvement in community life. Its associations are many and varied, ranging from winegrowers associations such as the Association Viticole Champenoise (AVC, founded in 1898) to Champagne fraternities such as the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne, founded in 1656 to promote the diversity of Champagne wines. But whatever the association, the objective is always the same: to further excellence in Champagne wine making.
Viticultural and oenological research began in 1898 when 23 Champagne Houses joined forces to form the Association Viticole Champenoise (AVC, Champagne viticultural association). Its objective was to combat Phylloxera, the tiny yellow louse that had started to invade the Champagne vineyards. Thanks to the AVC, effective solutions were eventually found.
The Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne is the official fraternity of committed Champagne enthusiasts, celebrating an Art de Vivre that dates back to the 16th Century and the Court of the Sun King.
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The history of wine brokerage in Champagne dates back to the 11th Century when brokers were appointed by the Provosts and Aldermen of the City of Reims.
The "Union des œnologues de France’ (union of French oenologists) was established in 1959 when oenology became recognized as a distinct scientific discipline. Every major wine region with AOC designation (Champagne, Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Alsace, etc.) is supported by a regional section of qualified oenologists who provide their services regardless of their professional commitments. regardless d’une section régionale qui regroupe les œnologues diplômés quelle que soit l’entreprise dans laquelle ils exercent leur spécialité.
The cult of St Vincent is still going strong in French wine regions. At the beginning of every year Winegrowers in villages throughout Champagne join together to thank their patron saint for the previous year’s harvest and place their endeavours in the coming year under his sacred protection.
In the Middle Ages the now famous wines of the Montagne de Reims were barreled in casks crafted by Reims coopers, then delivered to retail merchants who sold them at the celebrated fairs and markets of the period. There were cooperages pretty much everywhere in Reims, much to the dislike of the local gentry who resented having their peace disturbed by singing craftsmen as they wielded their hammers..
Training for professionals in wine and awarding of medals and distinctions.
Established in 1989, the Association Amicale des Responsables de Vignobles de Champagne (friendly society of directors of Champagne vineyards, or ARVC) brings together the directors of the principal Champagne House vineyards and the engineers and technicians of the Comité Champagne.
Every year in January Champagne House Cellar Masters conduct detailed tastings of wines from different Champagne vineyards. Like musicians they look for that perfect combination of notes that will best express the particular style of their House. It is this blending process that sets Champagne apart from any other wine in the world. The skill lies in predicting the results of second fermentation and cellaring — a leap into the future that requires long experience of wine tasting.
The Club des Jeunes Négociants Champenois (club for young Champagne merchants) was established in 1996, spearheaded by a group of young directors of Champagne Houses in a bid to share their new ideas and submit them for the consideration of more experienced colleagues in charge of professional and collaborative oversight.