"Champagne Houses" are businesses whose main activity is the making of Grande Marque Champagnes, made from grapes that may or not come from their own vineyards, which they market on a worldwide basis.
Champagne Houses source the bulk of their grapes from various crus (vineyards) within the Champagne Appellation, which are specifically selected for their ability to provide the grape variety (or varieties) required by each Champagne House. The grapes from these different crus are vinified separately, then blended according to the dictates and established traditions of each House, aiming to replicate the specific taste profile that its customers have come to expect.
About 100 Champagne Houses together account for:
Detailed comparative analysis of economic performance is a largely futile exercise due to the varied circumstances of each House.
As in other sectors, annual turnover is the standard reference, but it is important to understand that in Champagne this is by no means the only significant measure of performance.
By number of bottles, the Houses and their Grande Marque Champagnes may represent 2/3rds of export volume but in terms of value, they represent 3/4 of global Champagne turnover (cf. Key figures).
Before the war, shipments were divided 2/3 export and 1/3 for the French market. The spectacular increase in French consumption of Champagne is explained by the combined effects of an an improved standard of living and increased shipments by Champagne Growers and their co-operatives. The bulk of exports (more than 90%) came from the Houses and their Grandes Marques.
Two thirds of turnover in 2016 was owed to large Houses (5 Groups) whose "Champagne" turnover exceeded 150 million euros.
The rapid increase in shipments in the course of recent years and the scale of capital required for the business have led to the development of some very large Houses, including some who form part of groups that are global leaders in the wines and spirits business.
(a): Reverse-order ranking based on turnover declared to the CIVC in the previous tax year, without reference to the turnover published in annual reports.
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Several Houses or Marques might belong to the same group, but each is distinguished from the others by its choice of grape supplies and its distinctive production methods. Each Marque moreover retains a characteristic style that its clients around the world have come to expect.
More than a third of turnover is owed to some 20 Groups (or Houses) —
traditional businesses that typically represent a turnover in the range 10-150 million euros. Most enjoy international renown thanks to a family-based structure that earns them a solid clientele. However the media hype that surrounds them tends to conceal the creation and rapid growth of small and medium-sized businesses (in French ETI or PME) that still represent the majority of Grandes Marques and Champagne Houses.
Around 5% of turnover is owed to some 30 smaller Houses. Most of these use grapes from their own vineyards or family vineyards, typifying the family-owned businesses that form the backbone of the industry and helping to strengthen the region’s economic fabric.
(Alphabetical order below)