Champagne village profile: Orbais-l’Abbaye on the left bank of the Marne valley, one of two villages proposed to be thrown out of the Champagne appellation

Diagram Orbais-l'Abbaye 201512Key facts

Located in: Vallée de la Marne: Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche
Vineyards and grape varieties: 44.0 hectares (108.7 acres), of which 95.9% Pinot Meunier, 2.3% Pinot Noir, and 1.8% Chardonnay.
Classification: “Autre cru” (82%)


The map is linked from Wikimedia Commons, and the geographical information originates from OpenStreetMap. The dotted white area corresponds to the vineyards, light yellow is other open terrain, orange is built-up areas, and green indicates forest.

Google Maps view with the villages in the Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche highlighted.

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

Neighbouring villages

Northwest: La Ville-sous-Orbais
Comment: most of the villages to the south on the map are not part of the Champagne appellation and therefore don’t have any profiles.

The Abbey church in Orbais-l’Abbaye and surrounding buildings. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Amassychamp, 2014).

The village

Orbais-l’Abbaye is located on the left bank of the Marne river, which means south of the river. The village is located at Le Surmelin, a river which flows through the southern part of the Terroir de Condé area, and then empties into the Marne River downstreams at Mézy-Moulins. The valley formed by Le Surmelin is called Vallée du Surmelin, and in Champagne terms it consists of the southern part of the two areas Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche and Terroir de Condé.

The Orbais-l’Abbaye commune covers 1603 hectares and has 583 inhabitants (as of 2013), referred to as Orbaciens and Orbaciennes.


The vineyards in Orbais-l’Abbaye are located in a block to the northeast of the village, on the right bank of Le Surmelins, in a very mild south-facing slopes. The vineyards are completely dominated by Meunier.

The current vineyard surface in the Orbais-l’Abbaye commune is 44.0 hectares (108.7 acres). There are 42.2 ha Pinot Meunier (95.9%), 1.0 ha Pinot Noir (2.3%), and 0.8 ha Chardonnay (1.8%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 42 ha. There are no vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

Proposal to remove Orbais-l’Abbaye from the Champagne appellation

In the proposal for expansion of the Champagne wine region that was presented in 2007, Orbais-l’Abbaye 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 Germaine in the Grande Montagne de Reims area. 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 want to see it happen.

Champagne producers

I haven’t found any Champagne producers with seat in Orbais-l’Abbaye.

The Abbey church in Orbais-l’Abbaye. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo MOSSOT, 2004).


© Tomas Eriksson 2016, last update 2016-07-25

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