We just returned from a fascinating and wonderful three-week trip to France. Our last week was spent in the Champagne Region. If you like visiting Napa, you will love visiting the Champagne region. In spending just one week in Champagne we barely scratched the surface exploring this historic wine region. There are some 300 villages in the Champagne wine region and more than 3000 Champagne producers.
Only three varieties of grapes are grown here, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. These are the grapes used in blending Champagne. The majority of the soil is limestone The vines are grown in rows about one meter apart and are allowed to grow just over a meter in height. The vines are kept short and are constantly pruned. The idea is to keep the density high so the grape production is lower and the vines must compete for the needed ingredients. The vines grow deep into the chalky limestone soil. No irrigation is needed because there is enough rain and the chalky soil acts like a sponge to absorb the water. The limestone soil gives the Champagne that unique character that is found in no other bubbly around the world.