Champagne expansion: sober second thought

I’ve been very skeptical about the expansion of vineyards admitted into the Champagne appellation, which has caused quite a stir in the greater Champagne region. If more vineyards are being brought in, it has to do with business opportunities, of course, since demand for Champagne has been growing steadily in recent years, and producers want to sell more. For land owners, it’s also a great financial opportunity, as the value of land can increase hugely when its status changes.

Where does quality stand in that whole process? Not too far behind the sales and financial concerns, according to Andrew Jefford, who has written an excellent, in-depth analysis of the whole process. As he points out, there are currently relatively bad parcels within the appellation boundary, and good ones just outside the boundary. And though there will be a lot of horse trading (at least, attempted horse trading, I’m sure), with clear and strict enough criteria, the expansion can be brought about in a way that will not affect quality, maybe even improve it a little.

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