Dr. Vino
Champagne's Great Growers
© Dale Anderson

Ever wondered where the experts stand on the best wine practices and controversies? In this series, wine blogger, teacher and author Tyler Colman (a. k. a. Dr. Vino) delivers a final judgement.

Don't you think the growth in "grower" Champagnes is a good thing? For centuries, Champagne has been dominated by the great houses, a term for producers that buy grapes from the region's 10,000 small farmers. These big producers are master blenders—seeking and achieving consistency in nonvintage wines—as well as master marketers. But a small, influential trend is for the individual growers to bottle their own wines, which are often referred to as "grower Champagnes" or (by sommeliers) "farmer fizz." Because they're from a single vineyard rather than blended from hundreds of different ones, the wines tend to be more reflective of where they were grown.

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