Champagne Houses

Most champagne is made and sold by Champagne houses or négociants-manipulants. Not named after vineyards as in other winegrowing regions of France, they are known by commercial names. By far the most powerful of these is Moët & Chandon, which accounts for almost twenty-five percent of all export sales. Moët & Chandon is owned by the giant L.V.M.H. (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) which also owns Pommery and Veuve Clicquot. Combined, these four houses represent almost 50% of the export market.

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The other major conglomerates in Champagne are the Canadian Seagram Group and Rémy-Martin. Seagram is a majority stockholder in Mumm which also owns Perrier-Jouët, Heidsieck Monopole. Rémy-Martin owns a major position in Krug (one of Champagnes consistently fine wines) and bought Charles Heidsieck and Piper Heidsieck in the late 80's.
The biggest and most famous houses are known as Grandes Marques or literally big brands. In 1882, three of the major Champagne houses formed the Syndicat des Grandes Marques. Within a year 19 other houses joined it and as a result it represented nearly the whole champagne trade at the time. By 1993 it was renamed the Club des Grandes Marques and was reorganized to include members who adhere to certain minimum quality standards. Currently there are 24 members.

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There are many other quality producers of good to great champagne. Some growers bottle their own and many more still belong to cooperatives. Listed below are the Grandes Marques and some of the other principle Champagne houses.

The Grandes Marques of Champagne

Ayala • Ay
Billecart-Salmon • Mareuil-sur-Ay
Bollinger • Ay
Canard-Duchêne • Ludes
Deutz & Geldermann • Ay
Heidsieck & Co. Monopole • Reims
Charles Heidsieck • Reims
Henriot • Reims
Krug • Reims
Lanson Père et Files • Reims
Laurent-Perrier • Tours-sur-Marne
Moët et Chandon • Epernay
G. H. Mumm • Reims
Perrier-Jouët • Epernay
Joseph Perrier • Châlons-sur-Marne
Piper-Heidsieck • Reims
Pol Roger • Epernay
Pommery & Greno • Reims
Ch. & A Prieur •
Loius Roederer • Reims
Ruinart • Reims
A Salon • Le Mesnil-sur-Oger
Taittinger • Reims
Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin • Reims