How to Decipher a Champagne Label
1st October 2020
Have you ever wondered what everything means on a Champagne label? Don’t worry we can help you decipher it. Did you know that there are 10 things all Champagne labels have to include on the label?
1. ‘Appellation of Controlled Origin Champagne’ – Essentially, it must say ‘Champagne’, which is a guarantee to the buyer that it is from that region and produced to a high standard according to the rules.
2. Volume – The amount inside the bottle, a standard size bottle is 750ml.
3. Brand Marque – The brand under which the Champagne is sold.
4. Alcohol Content – This can vary, but is usually between 10.5% and 13%.
5. Country of Origin – This needs to say France, as Champagne can only be made in France.
6. Town where it was produced – The town, village or city where the wine was made.
7. Champagne House, Grower or Cooperative.
8. Degree of sweetness – for example, Brut, Extra Dry, Sec.
9. Winemaker – Usually just at the bottom or in small text, you can find the winemaker. It may say ‘Élaboré par [winemaker name]’.
10. Trade Registration – Number given by the CIVC
Every bottle of Champagne has to have a two letter code in front of the number on it, this indicates the type of producer.
NM – Négociant-Manipulant – This appears on the label of large Champagne houses who buy their grapes from a wide variety of other growers then make the Champagne under their own brand.
RM – Récoltant-Manipulant – This is a Champagne which is both grown and made by the same producer, known as a Grower Champagne.
CM – Coopérative-Manipulant – This is on the label when a group of small growers blend their grapes collectively and make a sparkling wine under one or more brands. They will usually be involved in the wine-making too.
RC – Récoltant-Coopérateur – This is when a grower provides grapes to a Coopérative- Manipulant and they make the wine on the grower’s behalf, under the grower’s own brand but without their involvement.
SR – Sociéte des Récoltants – When a small number of growers get together and share the same winery but make their own labels. This differs from a Coopérative-Manipulant because the growers keep their grapes separate, make their own brand, and are directly involved in the winemaking process.
ND – Negociant Distributeur – A company selling Champagne it did not make.
MA – Marque d’ Acheteur – A brand name owned by the purchaser, such as a restaurant, supermarket or wine merchant.
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