Art of wine

At Veuve Clicquot, the vine is considered to be the nourishing mother and is therefore the focus of everyone’s attention. Throughout the seasons, it receives the care necessary to ensure that it develops fully with a view to revealing the best of itself: grapes of exceptional quality.

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We Are Clicquot

Discover "We Are Clicquot", an incredible series of human portraits: wine producers, production staff, oenologists, etc. tell us about their work, their expertise, their daily lives and share with us their passion for creating Veuve Clicquot champagne.

Episode #1 : Christophe, Winegrower

We Are Clicquot

Episode #1 : Christophe, Winegrower

Christophe Simon has worked in the vineyards of Veuve Clicquot for almost 25 years. The son of Veuve Clicquot employees, he says the House is a part of his family heritage. He admits that the unpredictability of the weather is the most risky part of his job, but it’s contradictorily the most rewarding – when Veuve Clicquot achieves a beautiful harvest of grapes.

Episode #2 : Marie-Pascale, Manual Labelling

We Are Clicquot

Episode #2 : Marie-Pascale, Manual Labelling

Marie-Pascale was born and raised in Champagne, as were her parents. She works in the specialty bottle-labeling workshop, meticulously dressing the most distinguished bottles of the House – often by hand. This job is a true art form that can employ leather, plated gold, or other haute gamme materials. The first thing you notice about champagne is its bottle – so it must be perfect – to represent the quality of Veuve Clicquot. Discover Marie-Pascale’s story.

Episode #3 : Philippe, Oenologist

We Are Clicquot

Episode #3 : Philippe, Oenologist

Philippe has been the head of oenology since 1985, overseeing wine blend creations for the House. Winemaking is his passion, and the team is always striving to do better while it consistently maintains quality. There are days that they taste up to fifty different wines in order to define the Clicquot style; this style is the identity of the House, passed on from harvest to harvest, from one generation to the next. Discover Philippe’s story.

Episode #4 : Christian Renard, Vineyard Director

We Are Clicquot

Christian Renard has managed the vineyards since 1982, a responsibility that is anything but routine. Between the unpredictability of the weather, of the vines’ evolution, of simple organization of a large team, only one thing is certain: every single year is different. And so he is constantly adjusting and adapting to evolve Veuve Clicquot’s winemaking, while guarding a centuries-old tradition. Discover Christian’s story.

Episode #5 : Grape Pickers

We Are Clicquot

Episode #5 : Grape Pickers

Hailing from every French region and age group, Veuve Clicquot’s grape pickers are the integral heart of the harvest. Early on these autumn mornings, the grape pickers begin to hand-cut, carry and load countless bins of grapes – demanding, physical work that eventually leads to a delicious reward. Working as a team, they form tight bonds and memories, as they enjoy working with each other as much as they do with the earth. Discover the grape pickers’ story.

Episode #6 : Christophe Pannetier, Chef at Veuve Clicquot’s Hôtel du Marc

We Are Clicquot

Episode #6 : Christophe Pannetier, Chef at Veuve Clicquot’s Hôtel du Marc

Christophe Pannetier is the Chef at Veuve Clicquot’s Hôtel du Marc, providing gastronomic experiences to the private mansion’s guests, who come from around the world. An innovator, Christophe often works in tandem with our oenologists, on a mission to discover new wine pairings for Veuve Clicquot wines, while creating new flavors for our guests to savor. Discover Christophe’s story.

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Harvest Diary

Monday September 7, 2015
 
And so the great harvest begins today at Veuve Clicquot. We are beginning a few days earlier from last year. And as much as last year was wet, this year was a dry one. In fact, 2015 is the driest and hottest winemaking year on record for Champagne – back since such records have been kept. Luckily in the middle of August, and then at the end of the month, rains came to offer some water relief to the vines, and encouraging the grapes to grow bigger. But today it is dry and cool, barely 7°C at sunrise. Our grape collection begins this year on the vineyard of Ay. This plot is mostly harvested by local teams – of harvesters who hail from the Champagne region itself – or those who come to stay with friends during the harvest. Others come in trailers, and park them in one of our two designated plots on Veuve Clicquot’s property, where they have access to electricity, toilets and showers. These teams are made up of 9 people: 8 pickers, and one who transports the filled grape crates with a wheelbarrow. Our faithful team from Ay is perfectly on time on Saturday, August 29, adhering to the “battle plan” that we had previously established. We begin with the various administrative processes – verifying documents, registering the new workers, signing work contracts – then we hold the training session and transmit the various instructions these workers will need. This year the welcome gift is a hat again, but a different model from last year, and this one has “Veuve Clicquot Vendages 2015” embroidered on it. Many of the harvesters are proud of their new headwear and put it on right away. Others put theirs away for later – in order not to soil it – planning to wear it at the end of the harvest when they head home. All the harvesters are impatient for that first snip with the pruning shears, and we finally get to it by 8:30. Tomorrow they will meet us directly in the vineyards, to begin collecting grapes, at an even earlier hour. The first Pinot Noir grapes to be harvested are magnificent, perfectly ripe and entirely healthy. It is beneath a rather gray sky, in the middle of the afternoon, that our first “hosted” teams arrive – these are the workers for whom we will offer housing during the harvest. Four teams from the Northern province arrive in la Côte des Blancs vineyard. These harvesters are managed by a Team Leader to insure their success. They have been organized in groups of 7 workers, 4 of which are loaders – named such as they will load up wheelbarrows with the full crates of grapes, at the end of each vineyard row. In Mesnil, the harvesters are shown their new beds, as this year we also underwent some renovations – including some new 700 beds for our hosted harvest workers. The Mesnil harvesters from last year as well as the ones from Avize seem to appreciate the acoustic improvements that we installed in the canteen; we can hear each other much better during meal times. Two teams who will stay in Pargny lès Reims also just arrived. Our team from Amiens and the one from Lorraine are going to live together, as they usually do. It’s the first time in my career that I am seeing the Meuniers (champagne grape) from the West Mountain begin their harvest as early as they will this year – as early as the grapes of Chardonnay and la Côte des Blancs!
 
 

From the vineyard to the bottle

Winter is the season for pruning, carried out patiently by hand until the end of March. Then comes the tying up: the vine stocks left over after pruning are tied to a trellis. In May, those shoots with little or no grapes are cut off in what is known as ébourgeonnage, or bud pruning. All throughout the spring, the vines are protected if necessary in a reasoned way from disease and pests. The appearance of blossoms, around 20 June, is considered take place 100 days before the beginning of the harvest. While waiting for the harvest to take place, the branches of the vines are raised to a vertical position and tied to the trellis and the budding shoots are trimmed to guarantee optimum photosynthesis.

All the stages

Respecting the environment : a long-standing commitment

As a guarantee of our House motto “Only one quality, the finest”, respect for the land is part of our heritage as well as essential to our core business. A fundamental value that we share with all of our partners and our clients, it dictates all the initiatives we take with regard to preserving the environment, through five major commitments :

  • Monitoring environmental risks
  • Reducing the ecological impact of our business
  • Pursuing a policy of responsibility with a view to improving our performance
  • Involving all our employees and partners in our approach to protecting the environment
  • Sharing our environmental requirements/values

More about our commitments