The vineyards of Champagne, located in a region with a unique climate influenced by oceanic and continental factors, offer ideal conditions for growing champagne grapes, including varieties such as pinot noir, chardonnay and meunier. The climate, which is conducive to both abundant sunshine and moderate rainfall,
plays a crucial role in balancing the acidity and sugar levels of the grapes, essential to the production ofa high-quality sparkling wine.
Faced with the challenges posed by climate change, which is bringing hotter and drier conditions, the vineyards of Champagne are adapting their viticultural techniques to continue to
produce champagne to the strict criteria of the appellation,

Spring in Champagne

In spring, the vineyards of Champagne awaken, marking a moment of renewal and hope. As early as March and April, buds burst, heralding the start of the vine's annual cycle. This is a crucial time for viticulturists and oenologists, who engage in planning and maintenance projects such as :

- Soil and vine preparation: Pruning can resume as early as mid-January to prepare for the coming growth cycle. Soils, although largely inert and sometimes clogged with historical debris, require maintenance to control vegetation under the vines and avoid competition for water, essential for fruit production.

- Managing the risk of frost: late-season frosts pose a serious threat to tender plants. Active measures to combat frost include the use of wind machines, fans, smoke pots and sprinklers to modify temperatures in the vineyard. Site selection and delayed winter pruning are essential passive strategies.

- Pollination and flowering: Vines are self-fruitful, pollinating themselves without the help of bees or wind. Vine flowers generally appear in late spring, around 40 to 80 days after bud burst. Each flower carries the potential for a single grape, protecting the plant's evolutionary insurance policy, its seeds.

These stages largely determine the quality and quantity of the champagne grape harvest, underlining the importance of careful, expert spring management.

Summer in Champagne

During the summer, from May to August, vineyard workers devote themselves to pruning and trellising the vines, ensuring an optimal growing experience. This period benefits from generous sunshine and an almost ideal water supply for the grapes, thanks to moderate and regular rainfall throughout the year. The combined influence of oceanic and continental conditions on the Champagne climate translates into moderate temperatures and constant precipitation, key elements in maintaining a balance between acidity and sugar levels in the grapes, influenced by sunshine and precipitation.

Sun exposure and water management:
- Vines are planted on slopes to maximize sun exposure, essential for grapes to retain their natural acidity.
- Summer is crucial for the growth of Champagne grapes, influencing ripeness and fruit acidity.

Impact of climatic variations:
- A hotter summer can lead to earlier ripening of grapes, potentially affecting acidity levels.
- Conversely, a cooler summer favors slower ripening, allowing acidity levels to remain high Conversely, a cooler summer favors slower ripening, enabling high acidity levels to be maintained.
- The 2003 heatwave in Europe had a significant impact on Champagne grape growth, reducing yields and modifying grape characteristics.

These factors underline the importance of careful vineyard management during the summer to ensure the quality and specificity of Champagne grapes, essential to the production of high-quality sparkling wine.

Autumn in Champagne

Autumn in Champagne is a period of effervescence and precipitation, when every moment counts for winegrowers and oenologists. The harvest, or "vendange", which takes place from late August to early October, is the key moment of the year. Champagne producers are attentive to several factors:

Harvest and climate:
Grape ripeness is closely monitored, as in warmer regions such as Barossa, Australia, desired sugar levels can be reached weeks or even a month earlier than in cooler areas. Excessive rainfall just before picking can lead to berry splitting, mold and dilution problems. Long-lasting storms and hurricanes around harvest time also threaten harvests in East Coast regions.

Visiting Experience:
The best time to visit France's Champagne region is autumn, particularly from late September to November. Visitors can sometimes take part in harvest activities, and after the harvest, many festive events celebrate the year's yield.

Technological innovations:
Moët & Chandon, a renowned champagne house, has teamed up with Hiphen, a provider of agricultural imaging solutions, to revolutionize grape quality assessment
during harvest. The imaging data collected by Hiphen's PhenoStations creates homogeneous batches of grapes before the winemaking process begins, monitoring 24/7
cases of grapes throughout the harvest period to identify and track potential problems such as disease or fungus, and ripeness issues.

Winter in Champagne

Winter in Champagne is a time of rest for the vines, but an active season for winegrowers, who devote themselves to essential tasks in preparation for the next cycle. During this dormant period, in January and February, vineyard workers precisely prune excess canes, a crucial practice to ensure optimal sap flow to the buds and to give the vine its ideal shape. This pruning respects the winter resting period of the vine, scientifically known as 'vitis vinifera', which during this season stores carbohydrates in its trunk, roots and branches, preparing itself to face the low winter temperatures

Winter vine management:

- Pruning: Preparing the vines for the coming season through rigorous pruning.
Cold protection: The vine resists low temperatures and benefits from snow as protection against parasites.
Treatment: Application of products to treat diseases and fungi.

While the vines are resting, the Champagne region remains dynamic, thanks in particular to Christmas and New Year festivities such as the Reims Christmas market and Bulles Enchantées in Troyes. These events contribute to the region's effervescence, even in winter. What's more, with champagne sales booming, reaching 325.5 million bottles by 2022, the industry is also adapting to the challenges posed by climate change. Vineyard management strategies, such as adjusting planting density and vineyard orientation, are being implemented to mitigate the effects of climate change on champagne grape growth.


Through the seasons, from spring awakening to autumn harvest, every stage of the annual vine cycle in Champagne is crucial, shaping the unique characteristics of the grapes destined for Champagne production. Careful vineyard management, adapted to the varied challenges posed by the climate, as well as technological innovations, are fundamental to maintaining the high quality of this world-renowned wine. Champagne, with its distinct climate and refined viticultural techniques, continues to overcome climatic obstacles to produce a champagne that meets the appellation's stringent expectations.
The implications of these practices extend far beyond the region itself, offering insights into climate change adaptation in global viticulture and underscoring the importance of preserving sustainable agricultural practices. By highlighting the interconnection between climate, grape growing and champagne production, this article encourages reflection on the future of viticulture and its ability to adapt to environmental change. The continuity of these efforts is essential not only for the Champagne region, but for the entire viticultural sector, affirming the need for continued research and innovation in this valuable field.


When do bunches of grapes start to form?

The first bunches of grapes begin to form between late May and early June. This period immediately follows the appearance of leaves on the vines and marks the start of flowering, during which the flower clusters develop.

Why are Champagne vines grown lower than in other regions?

In Champagne, vines are kept at a relatively low height because their roots plunge deep into the soil. This practice enables the roots to protect themselves and access essential nutrient reserves, a strategy that differs from that observed in other French vineyards, such as those in the Rhône Valley or Provence.

What specific tasks are carried out in Champagne vineyards in July?

During the month of July, Champagne winegrowers devote themselves to thinning out the leaves on the vines, one of the last steps before the harvest begins. This operation involves carefully removing the leaves from the vines, which are located close to the grape bunches, and only on the eastern side of the vine, which is exposed to the rising sun.

When is the Champagne harvest?

The Champagne harvest generally takes place between September 5 and 15. Every year, the wine-growing community eagerly awaits the official announcement of the harvest dates. For 2023, these dates have been announced for Saturday, September 2.