Early History of Champagne

The Romans were the first known inhabitants to plant vineyards in the Champagne region. The very word champagne, comes from the latin word campania which referred to the similar terrain between the rolling hills of Champagne and the countryside of Campania located on the south side of Rome.


Historically, the area was divided into two area: Champagne pouilleuse—the chalky, barren plains east of Reims—and Champagne viticole, the forested hillside region known as the Montagne de Reims between Reims and the Marne river where the vines were planted. There is proof that vineyards were planted much earlier than recorded, the first recorded vineyard belonged to a man named St. Remi in the 5th century.


After the crowning of the French King, Hugh Capet, in 987 in the cathedral Reims, the area became the spirtual capital for France for several centuries and at the centre of those holy traditions were the vins created in the area. The reputation of the area and the quality of the wine produced continued to sore for centuries as kings from every age showered the delicacy of their wines with praise.


During the middle ages, rivalries between the wine-making regions began to emerge as each grower competed to be the most favoured among the nobility. Due to unyielding wea

ther conditions and competition to differentiate themselves, some Champenois even took to blending elderberries into their wine mixture. The colours of wine in champagne at the time wre that of a pale pink to a light red. They struggled to compete with the richness of colour that was so easily produced by wine makers in the Burgundy region because of weather restraints. However, it was wine wines created with red grapes that were coveted by the population of the time and many turned to creating such wines in order to appease the royal palate.