‘I am drinking stars! ’- Said Dom Pierre Pérignon in the moment of tasting the very first Champagne in 1693.
Source: Dom Pérignon (2023)
For many, champagne is the ultimate liquid luxury, the nectar of gods. However, it is also a lucrative sector in the overall luxury spirits industry. Symbol of French Art de Vivre and the emblem of sophistication and elevated taste, it originates from Champagne, the iconic wine-growing region in France. The revolutionary Methodé Champenoise first emerged in the 1690s when monks from local monasteries, including Dom Pierre Pérignon, discovered how to make bubble wine regardless of the external conditions.
The first champagne houses became apparent in the 18th century. This period was the beginning of the stories of now-quintessential Champagne brands including Ruinart, Chanoine, Fourneaux, Moët, Vander-Veken, Delamotte, Dubois, Veuve Clicquot, Heidsieck and Jacquesson.
The overall industry of champagne is valued at $6 billion and is estimated to reach $7.5 billion in 2026 (Allied Market Research,2023). According to Comité Champagne (2023), the volume of Champagne bottles shipments was 326 million bottles in 2022, 1.6 per cent, or 4 million bottles more than in 2021. Champagne houses are today responsible for more than two-thirds of Champagne sales and 90% of exports abroad. However, the greatest value of champagne lies in the art of creating and tasting it.
Veuve Clicquot has one of the most interesting originating stories, in which the founder and his daughter-in-law play the leading roles.
Source: Veuve Cliquot (2023)
The brand was established in 1772 by Phillipe Cliquot, a champagne visionary from a banker’s family, whose primary idea was to conquer the Venetian market. After the death of the founder’s son in 1805, the young widow Madame Cliquot took control of the operating business of the house and expanded the distribution network all over Europe.
Source: Veuve Cliquote (2023)
Her champagne was praised by the best writers and artists of the time as Chekov, Pushkin and Gogol (Veuve Cliquot, 2023). As the first businesswoman of the time, Madam Cliquote was named La Grande Dame of Champagne. An inventor and entrepreneur, Madame Cliquot was the first to use the riddling table in the process of champagne making and create rosé Champagne, practices later adopted by other houses. Her devoted and innovative approach transformed the house into a worldwide known Champagne brand.
The must try bottle is 1979 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Cavée Rosé Brut.
Source: Veuve Cliquote (2023)
Maison Krug was established in 1843 by Joseph Krug in Reims, near the Champagne region. After six generations of the Krug Family overseeing the brand, the house continues to be at the top of the world’s champagne pyramid, nurturing the finest techniques to offer the most exquisite and prestigious champagne. The most distinguished bottles of the brand are the 1979 Krug Clos du Mensil Blanc De Blancs Grand Cru Brut and the 1928 Krug Collection Brut.
The father of champagne is for some the ultimate synonym for champagne. The most distinguished bottle is Dom Perignon Vintage Brut 1928. This bottle takes credit for establishing Maison’s legendary reputation, positioning itself as the trophy bottle of sparkling wine.
Photo credit: Dom Perignon (2023)
As Enrico Bernardo, the world’s best sommelier describes it in his book The Impossible Collection of Champagne – ‘ This is an unforgettable bottle, full of great wisdom: in a word, immortal.’
Ruinart is the first established champagne luxury house in France in 1729. Since its beginnings, the brand has been dedicated to crafting exceptional wines and spirits, nurturing the heritage of original champagne savoir-faire. The brand has redesigned the packaging and materials into eco-design with an aim to follow a more sustainable path. The use of plastic has been banned since 2015 and replaced with recyclable single materials. Maison Ruinart is a pioneer of sustainable viticulture, as well. In the last decade, Ruinart has reduced the use of chemicals by 40% and completely relinquished herbicide use in viticulture. With its sustainability-driven endeavours, the oldest champagne luxury house is striving to contribute to the positive future of viticulture.
Photo credit: Ruinart (2023)