What Does ‘Grower Champagne’ Mean?
17th July 2020
Grower Champagne can only be called a Grower Champagne if all the grapes used in producing your Champagne were grown on vines in your own vineyards/estate, rather then purchasing grapes from other third party vineyards.
Grower Champagne is referred to in French as Récoltant-Manipulant
Not all Champagne Houses have enough hectares of vines to meet their expected production, the largest Champagne houses only hold 12% of the region’s vineyards, such as Moët & Chandon, Mumm and Veuve Clicquot, these houses have to purchase grapes from as many as 80 different vineyards and then blend all the grapes together to make their bottles of Champagne.
There are over 19,000 independent growers in the Champagne region, accounting for nearly 88% of vineyard land in the region; around 5,000 of these growers produce wine from their own grapes. Wikipedia.
In 2014 only 5% of Champagne imported into the United States was Grower Champagne
When Grower Champagnes are made, the winemakers tend to focus more on the terroir, using grapes from a single vineyard or vineyards that are closely located around a village, they will only use their own grapes and may tend to be pickier to ensure they create their own unique tasting experience.
Asking the question of what does Grower Champagne taste like? or how does Grower Champagne compare to other Champagnes? is a question you will not receive a simple answer to, every Champagne is different, from the colour, aromas, flavours and even bubbles, you might experience classic Champagne flavours or you might get a prominent toasty or even nutty experience, each Champagne House is unique with a subtle difference to big ones, you’ve just got to explore by tasting or checking out some more of our Champagne articles.
You can identify a Grower Champagne by looking at its label, if it has RM on the label, it means Récoltant-Manipulant which in turn tells you that this is a Grower Champagne, but not all Grower Champagnes will choose to state this.
There are in total 7 acronyms that you can be identified on a bottle label.
RM – Récoltant-Manipulant, a grower/producer who uses a minimum of 95% grapes from their estate.
NM – Négociant-Manipulant, larger Champagne Houses will state this if they sourced the majority of their grapes rather than growing them.
CM – Coopérative-Manipulant, this is when multiple growers come to together to create a Champagne, this method can involve the growers to have a say in the winemaking process.
RC – Récoltant-Coopérateur, all the grapes would have been grown from one grower, but in this case, all the grapes are given to a co-operative winemaking facility that makes the Champagne for them, the grower still sells the Champagne under their own label, but the grower either has very little involvement or non at all in the process.
SR – Société de Récoltants, when two or more growers come together to register as a firm, who share the same winery and sell Champagne under one label.
MA – Marque d’Acheteur, this also means Buyer’s Own Brand, a restaurant, bar or shop will buy a finished Champagne but will sell it under its own private label.
ND – Négociant Distributeur, putting ND on the label means that the company selling the Champagne bought it from someone else, they just have to put the labels on and distribute them, ND means the seller didn’t grow or produce the Champagne.
RC – Récoltant Coopérateur, when a Grower Champagne has their Champagne created at a co-operative winemaking facility but they sell under their own label.
There are sometimes exceptions to these regulatory classifications, but the above is normally correct.
WSET 2 Journalist focused on sharing Champagne and Sparkling Wine reviews and cocktails to the world.