The Vallee de la Marne, centered on the city of Epernay, is the heart of the Champagne district. The small city of Epernay, right on the river, is the historic center of the Champagne trade, and its Route des Champagnes is famed for the grand headquarters buildings of many of the most famous Grandes Marques, including Moet & Chandon, Bollinger, Pol Roger, Taittinger, Maison Salon, and many more.
The Grands Marques, the large negociant firms that dominate the Champagne business, are generally headquartered in Epernay or nearby Reims. These large producers represent the vast majority of the fine Champagne in trade, with annual production levels in the millions of bottles (Pol Roger 1.7 million bottles per year, Perrier-Jouet 3 million, Taittinger 5 million, Veuve Clicquot 10 million, Moet & Chandon clocking in at a whopping 32 million (including 5 million bottles of Dom Perignon annually). The vineyards are planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, with Meunier, resistant to mildew, dominant on the lower slopes that are subject to riverine mists.
In the smaller villages of the Vallee, a small number of fine growers continue to produce unique and individualistic Champagnes from their own vineyards. Cumieres, a village of some 800 souls and a mere 171 hectares of vineyards, is home to one of our finest- Maison George Laval.
Vallee de la Marne Producers