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.
With that challenge as a starting point. the AVC then equipped itself with the cutting-edge technology required to support other processes, such as risk modeling, harvest estimates, networking and qualitative analysis.
In 1941 the "Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne" (now the Comité Champagne) was established by statute to manage the common interests of Champagne Growers and Houses. The Comité Champagne is a joint trade association, with a mandate to promote and protect the Champagne AOC across the world.
The AVC’s human and material resources were transferred to the CIVC and researchers and technicians now work for the Institut Technique du Champagne (ITC) in Epernay. The ITC is an independent research institute that brings together all facets of vine and wine research in the Champagne industry, including work conducted by the OIV (International Organisation of Vine and Wine) and INRA (National Institute for Agricultural Research).
The AVC is run by a joint management body, with representation drawn equally from Winegrowers and Champagne Houses. It exists to consider the short and long-term future of Champagne wine, driving a process for continuous quality improvement that underpins Champagne’s reputation as the king of wines. Winegrowers and Champagne House representatives direct and oversee the activities of the CIVC, working within the framework of the Commission Technique (CT-CIVC).
The areas of production and manufacturing of Champagne wines, together with the strict regulations specifying every aspect of their production (from vine-growing to the shipping of the finished wine) are determined by the INAO >http://www.inao.gouv.fr/] (the National Institute of Origin and Quality). The Institute was established in 1935 and is now supported by four national committees: deliberative assemblies consisting of groups of business people and state officials selected according to product. Among them, the national committee for wines, spirits and other alcoholic beverages is presided over by Yves Bénard (in office since 2007) with input from 12 regional authorities, including one in Epernay.
It now falls to the Comité Champagne to ensure the protection of the Champagne name throughout the world, acting in concert with its traditional custodians, the Champagne Houses. The aim of the Champagne protection policy is to raise awareness around the globe that the name Champagne is exclusively reserved for wines made in the Champagne region and cannot be used in connection with any other product whatsoever, regardless of apparent similarities or status. Protection may take many forms and occasionally leads to lawsuits.
Boosting the brand identity of Champagne wines is a particular priority. The Comité Champagne works to educate the world’s consumers about the special characteristics of Champagne, where soil, subsoil, climate, grape varieties and a whole host of complementary factors come together to enable Winegrowers and Champagne Houses to produce their exceptional cuvees. The different activities of the Comité Champagne support and complement those of the Marques, whose brand credibility is reinforced by an active market presence spanning more than a century.
The Comité Champagne serves as a consultative body for Winegrowers and Champagne Houses, conferring legal standing on all of the decisions made in pursuit of the common interest (approved by the regional prefect representing the state). Compliance with these decisions is strictly enforced by state authorities such as the INAO, French Customs and France’s anti-fraud unit.Winegrowers and Champagne House representatives direct and oversee the activities of the CIVC, working within the framework of the Commission Communication Appellation (CCA-CIVC).
|Ghislain de MONTGOLFIER
|Alain de VOGÜÉ
|Robert-Jean de VOGÜÉ
|Melchior de POLIGNAC
|Bertrand de MUN