Champagne village profile: Germaine in the Grande Montagne de Reims, one of two villages proposed to be thrown out of the Champagne appellation

Diagram Germaine 201503Key facts

Located in: Montagne & Val de Reims: Grande Montagne de Reims
Vineyards and grape varieties: 26.3 hectares (65.0 acres), of which 96% Pinot Meunier, 3% Chardonnay, and 0.6% Pinot Noir.
Classification: “Autre cru” (80%)
Noted for: Proposed (in 2007) to be removed from the list of Champagne villages.

Maps

The map is linked from Wikimedia Commons, and the geographical information originates from OpenStreetMap. The dotted white area corresponds to the vineyards, and light yellow indicates other open terrain.


Google Maps view with the villages in the Grande Montagne de Reims highlighted. The grand cru villages are in green, the premier cru villages are in yellow, and the autre cru villages in orange. The light green box shows the Perle blanche area.

Clicking on a village opens a field to the left with a link to the village profile.

Neighbouring villages

South: Avenay-Val-d’Or (premier cru), part of Grande Vallée de la Marne
Southsoutheast: Fontaine-sur-Aÿ
North: Villers-Allerand (premier cru)

Germaine. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo G.Garitan, 2013).

The village

Germaine is located north of Aÿ and Avenay-Val-d’Or where the continuous vineyards give way to forest. The railroad from Aÿ passes through the village and then further up the hill.

The Germaine commune covers 1487 hectares and counts 509 inhabitants (as of 2012), called Germinois and Germinoises respectively.

Vineyards at Vaurémont in the Germaine commune, and a facility that belongs to Moët & Chandon. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo G.Garitan, 2013).

Vineyards

The vineyards of Germaine contain mostly Pinot Meunier, and were classified 80% on the now-defunct échelle des crus (80%-100%), making it an “autre cru”.

The current vineyard surface in the commune is 26.3 ha (65.0 acres). There are 25.3 ha of Pinot Meunier (96.1%), 0.8 ha of Chardonnay (3.0%), 0.1 ha of Pinot Noir (0.6%) and 0.1 ha of others (0.6%). There are 2 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

The vineyards of Germaine are primarily owned by Moët & Chandon, who apparently possesses 22 ha in the village.

Proposal to remove Germaine from the Champagne appellation

In the proposal for expansion of the Champagne wine region that was presented in 2007, Germaine was one of two villages proposed to be removed from the zone de production, the list of communes whose vineyards may be included in the Champagne appellation. The other commune was Orbais-l’Abbaye. News from 2011 claims that that the French appellation organisation INAO then had validated the proposal with Germaine and Orbais-l’Abbaye still outside the production zone, but I have seen no final decision.

In this 2008 article, Champagne writer Tom Stevenson speculated that these two villages were made “sacrifical lambs” to counter any criticism of the expansion plans. Apparently, these two villages have no small growers, and the vineyard owners that are affected are two major Champagne groups (LVMH/Moët & Chandon and Vranken-Pommery-Monopole) who definitely stand to gain from the expansion as a whole, and therefore definitely want to see it happen.

Champagne producers

Major Champagne houses

Producer status is indicated where known: RM = récoltant-manipulant, or grower-producers. RC = récoltant-coopérateur, growers that are cooperative members but sell Champagnes under their own name. Smaller producers with unknown status are placed under this heading.

  • Moët & Chandon, with their main seat in Épernay, has a facility i Germaine.

Champagne growers

Producer status is indicated where known: RM = récoltant-manipulant, or grower-producers. RC = récoltant-coopérateur, growers that are cooperative members but sell Champagnes under their own name. Smaller producers with unknown status are placed under this heading.

Video clip

A video collage composed of old postcards from the 20th century, featuring views of Germaine.

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2014-2015, last updated 2016-07-25

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