les grandes marques veuve cellars

Les Grandes Marques

Then and Now

The term Grande Marque (‘Great Brand’) represents international brand awareness, infallible reputation and unyielding customer loyalty. The term has a long history from inception, development and interpretation in the 21st century. Today, there are 24 Champagne Houses which are considered Les Grandes Marques and these are:

Ayala, Billecart-Salmon, Bollinger, Canard-Duchêne, Deutz, Gosset, Charles Heidsieck, Heidsieck & Co Monopole, Krug, Lanson, Laurent-Perrier, Mercier, Moët & Chandon, GH Mumm, Joseph Perrier, Perrier-Jouët, Piper-Heidsieck, Pol Roger, Pommery, Louis Roederer, Ruinart, Salon, Taittinger and Veuve Clicquot.

This evening, you may wish to dine in the Château’s on-site gourmet restaurant or alternatively, we would be very pleased to reserve you a table at one of our partner restaurants in Epernay, which is a 20 minute drive from the Château. Please rest assured that all Grape Escapes restaurant partners will follow strict safety guidelines, respecting social distance and hygiene rules. After breakfast on day two, you will be met at the Château by an English-speaking specialist driver/guide, who will accompany you throughout the day on a private basis. You will be transported in a spacious Mercedes Viano-style vehicle and your guide will follow the necessary safety procedures whilst regaling you with tales and anecdotes of the history of Champagne and its vineyards, introducing you to the particularities of the region. You will firstly stop in a vineyard to learn about the work undertaken here, and the tour is designed to be as hands-on as possible. Here, your guide will explain the grape varieties permitted in Champagne and the yearly cycle of the work carried out in the vineyards. You will also pass through Hautvillers, the famous hilltop village where Dom Pérignon himself lived and is buried.
Les Grandes Marques

The Union des Maisons de Champagne (UMC), formally known as Syndicat du Commerce des Vins de Champagne, was founded in 1882. The syndicate was based in Reims under the presidency of Florens Walbaum from the Heidsieck Company and its role was to defend and protect the collective interests of its member Champagne Houses. The syndicate saw members swell to around 61 Houses in 1884, however this slowly declined over the coming decades, as less eminent producers became overshadowed by dominant brands. By the late 20th Century, the Champagne Houses who were still prominent players in the union, took the view that they were the elite, thus ordaining themselves Les Grandes Marques.

In 1997, the syndicate was hit with some hard questions from British consumers. A poll was published asking every Grande Marque House whether being a member of the union was/should be a declaration of  superior quality and if so, there were demands to make this quantifiable with a criteria. There were also calls for the syndicate to be more open to less prestigious producers, welcoming them as members should they adhere to the quality standards.

Champagne tour in France
Epernay day tour- Credits Moet and Chandon

When the responses were formalised, it showed that Bollinger was the only producer to agree to both of these claims, inferring that the other members of the union felt that the Grande Marque system was a matter of reputation over quality. As a result of this revelation, Jean-Claude Rouzaud of Louis Roederer, (the syndicate’s Chairman at the time), promised to introduce a ‘quality criteria and more open membership’. However, none of the houses could agree on the basic criteria for quality and the syndicate subsequently disbanded.

Despite the termination of the organisation, the term Grande Marque still infinitely hovers over the Champagne industry today and the last-standing members of the union are still considered today to be the most prestigious producers in the region. Ultimately, Champagne Houses deserving of this title will always be decided by the market.

Les Grandes Manques
Les Grandes Marques

Visit the Grandes Marques!

We have been organising Champagne tours for almost two decades, and we offer a huge selection of Champagne tasting tours to suit all tastes and budgets. We can arrange your travel, accommodation and Champagne tours for you, and all you will need to do is turn up on the day and enjoy the bubbles.

Our friendly team would love to hear from you on +44 (0) 1920 46 86 66 or at info@grapeescapes.net to discuss your requirements and suggest suitable packages,

France self-drive holidays

"Thanks to Jenna's very high quality of service (one that is unfortunately rare), we had an incredible weekend. I assure you that I will be recommending Grape Escapes to all of my friends, co-workers and family and will definitely look to Grape Escapes for any wine / Champagne tours we want to take in the future (whether we are looking for a low-key, less expensive weekend like last year or a much more bank account depleting spoiling weekend like this year)!"

Meredith- London, UK

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