Champagne is a sparkling wine named after the region of its production, based around the towns of Reims and Épernay in northeast France.

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The three primary grapes used in its production are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Other grape varieties are permitted but rarely used.

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‘Methode Champenoise’ is the traditional method by which this sparkling wine is produced. Following primary fermentation and bottling, a second fermentation is initiated in the bottle by the addition of a liqueur de tirage.

Non-vintage wines make up the vast majority of production in the region and are a blend of the latest vintage plus several older reserve wines. Non-vintage wines require a minimum of 18 months ageing before release.

In years where there is an outstanding harvest, producers may ‘declare’ the vintage and make wines using only grapes from that particular year. A minimum of 36 months maturation is required for these wines.

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