Sparkling Wine Mountains and Rivers: The River Marne

2nd February 2021

River Marne Champagne

Both famous names and both ingredients of providing the world with some of the finest sparkling wines. I am speaking of the Champagne region and a famous river that runs through it, the River Marne.

Standing up on the hills full of vines I have many times looked down towards this river and been delighted by the stunning light blue, almost Turquoise, colouring it offers and when the sunlight is focused down on it then you get these magical blue rays delighting your eyes.

The river looks fresh, it looks vibrant, you are tempted to dive into it during the hot summer days and it takes a rightful prominent position through and besides many Champagne villages and is set within their identity. For many Champagnes, the River Marne is their main terroir influence.

River Marne passing by Epernay

River Marne passing by Epernay


As a whole, the Champagne region is split into two, a northern and southern part made up of regions with clusters of designated wine-growing areas:

  • Vallée de la Vesle
  • Vallée de l’Ardre
  • Montagne de Reims
  • Vallée de la Marne
  • Côte des Blancs
  • Côte de Sézanne
  • Troyes
  • Côte de l’Aube
  • AOC Rosé des Riceys

The northern part is the better known region, producing some 75% of the annual production of Champagne. It also contains probably the two most well and visited locations of Reims and Epernay which draw in huge numbers of tourists annually. It boasts some of the world’s most famous Champagne brand names from Moët & Chandon to Louis Roederer of which many are open to, sometimes subject to pre-booking, visits from the public.

The River Marne also makes it prominent appearance through the northern region. This 514km long river that ends up joining the River Seine, commences it travels with the source being in the Langres Plateau, within the commune of Balesmes-sur-Marne. On part of its journey, the River Marne also majestically sweeps through the Champagne growing region of Vallée de la Marne.

Champagne village of Ay

Myself enjoying the views down to the Champagne village of Aÿ


From east to west it takes a windy route passing by and sharing its riverbanks with, great villages that include Aÿ, Epernay, Dizy, Cumieres, Dormans and Charly.

Vallée de la Marne is considered as the most important of the Champagne regions with approximately 11,500 hectares of vineyards with the higher percentage being the Pinot Meunier variety.

Many great wine regions see influence from water being it lakes or rivers. The most part, which will surprise many is not simply that they might provide water/irrigation, but it is their temperature influence.

Larger areas of water will generally keep a constant temperature that rises and falls slightly through the seasons. The daily temperatures may rise and fall on the land containing the vines thus you may have warm sunshine during the day though temperatures could fall considerable at night. A large area of water alongside vineyards allows for a steady influence on the temperature warming the atmosphere surrounding it when the temperature falls and giving a cooling relief should the daytime be hot and sunny. Much of the Vallée de la Marne vineyards follows closely the trail of the River Marne thanks to its moderating influence on seasonal temperatures.


Title image credit: Pixabay

Christopher Walkey

Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.