Nothing says celebration more than champagne; it’s widely viewed as a luxury good, something special and something a bit posh. It is the go-to wine for anything from applauding a recent promotion to toasting a new marriage.I have been very lucky in my wine trade career to see the region and its producers up close and in some cases, got to peek behind the curtain. What fascinates me is that behind the élan, sophistication and poise of the famous Champagne houses and their mega brands, there are stories that don’t necessarily fit the image that they have spend multiple millions crafting. A bubbling secret that few outside the trade know, is how they source the grapes for this luxury product.

In the Champagne region wine making and grape growing are almost completely separated – the grape growers control nearly ninety percent of the supply of grapes, while the wine makers (négotiants) dominate production, sales and marketing of the final product.