Champagne doesn’t have much of a reputation for collective-mindedness. Ever since the region’s governing body decided to force growers to lower their yields during the Covid-hit summer of 2020, fearful of an oversupply of bottles and an undersupply of occasions to drink them, growers and houses have been grappling with a series of disagreements.
First there was confusion and protest from a group of ecologically minded vignerons unhappy with the region’s quiet retreat from a proposed herbicide ban, with 125 winegrowers signing an indignant letter to French newspaper Le Monde in December 2022.
There was grumbling among some growers, too, over proposed changes to rules on vineyard design which some believe benefit large producers eyeing up cheaper, mechanised vineyard work. On paper, there hasn’t been much to agree on. The truth, though, is that Champagne is more collaborative than it seems.