A Brief Summary on What Makes Grower Champagne Special

  • Grower champagne is sparkling wine that’s made in the traditional method, meaning winemakers add a little sugar and yeast to the wine to let the bubbles develop in the bottle.
  • Unlike house champagnes, with their world-famous names and reputations, grower champagnes are the under-dogs, made by artisanal winemakers looking to do something different.
  • The people who grow the grapes are the ones making the champagne.
  • Grower champagnes are typically made from one harvest. Because they are not blends, grower champagnes will be unique every year.

If you love bubbles, earthy minerals, and zippy flavors, all made from wine makers in their own vineyards, then grower champagne is for you. This style has recently taken the wine world by storm and for good reasons. 

Continue on below to learn more about this wonderful style of French sparkling wine. No matter if you’re new to wine or an expert sommelier, grower champagnes are wines that deserve your attention.

All About Grower Champagne

Champagne is a term that’s associated with fine sparkling wines from the Champagne region in northeast France. Any sparkling wine from that region can be called champagne. 

The term “grower champagne” means that the wine is from the champagne region and the same individual who grew the grapes made the wine. This is different from champagne houses like Veuve Clicquot, Krug, and Moët, which usually take grapes sourced from many growers across the region and blend them into that year’s release. 

champagne glass on a wooden table with a blurred scenic view in the background.

This was how it was traditionally done in Champagne until 1994, when the popular Gault Millau guide came out, promoting a few small-scale independent growers to the top of the list. From then on, independent growers and producers started marketing their wines to overseas customers and the grower champagne craze started. 

This movement attracted consumer interest around the world, leading to plenty of new high-quality grower champagnes to enter the market. Today, you can find all kinds of incredible grower champagnes at competitive prices. 

What are the Main Differences?

Like any artisanal product, grower champagnes can have a vast array of styles. This is because they represent the craftsmanship and taste of the growers involved and depend on the year’s growing season and grape harvest. 

The big difference between house champagnes and grower champagnes is who makes them. House champagnes are blended wines made from several farmers, while a grower champagne is a single expression from a single farmer. 

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Houses, also called “Maisons,” make up almost 90% of champagne imported into the USA. These houses specialize in blending grapes sourced from various regions within Champagne and vintages to get a consistent flavor profile year after year.

Growers own small plots of vineyards throughout the Champagne region. They work tirelessly on their vines and harvest their grapes before making the wine themselves. Because their wine varies from year to year, the resulting wine is unique. 

How to Tell the Difference

To find a grower champagne, look for hyphenated names on the bottle. Growers label their wine with their surname, followed by a hyphenated maiden name or names. This practice is a way growers pay homage to their land and families, many of which have been growing wine for centuries. 

champagne bottles and glasses arranged for tasting

The best way to tell the difference between a champagne house or a grower champagne is by asking an expert or doing a quick internet search yourself. If you’re at a wine store or restaurant, the clerks, waiters, or sommelier on duty will have plenty of information for you. 

Another way is to check for the term “RM,” or “récoltant manipulant” in French. This means that the grape grower made the wine. This label is sometimes hard to find, so be patient and don’t be afraid to ask. 

Houses are the heavy-hitters, the big champagne brands, like Veuve Clicquot, Moët, and Krug. These Champagnes are the world’s most popular and often fetch a high price tag. 

Sometimes, to find grower champagne, you may have to look around. Only about 10% of champagnes imported into the USA are grower champagnes.  

What do Grower Champagnes Taste Like?

While grower champagnes are special, they are not necessarily better tasting than house champagnes. This ultimately comes down to the year, winemaker, and of course, your personal taste. 

Grower champagne is incredibly diverse. Some have bright crispness, while others have a fuller, more fruit-driven character and plenty of the chalky minerality that champagne is famous for. 

two champagne glasses on a tray

House champagnes often try to have a consistent flavor profile year after year. This makes grower champagnes sometimes more dynamic and intriguing for wine drinkers. 

Just like house champagnes, grower champagnes come in a variety of styles. Blanc de blanc is champagne that’s made entirely from white grapes, while blanc de noir is crafted from red grapes like pinot noir or pinot meunier. 

Blanc de blanc champagnes are made from chardonnay grapes. These wines have beautiful citrus aromas and minerality from the region’s limestone soils. You can also get notes of butter, baked rolls, and other earthy flavors. 

For blanc de noirs, you’ll enjoy more ‘funky’ aromas, red fruits and stone fruits, and bright acidity. These wines like to be enjoyed right away to really enjoy their zesty effervescence. 

Grower champagnes also come in rosé styles made with pinot noir and pinot meunier. These wines can be light pink to darker red with ripe berry flavors, slight creaminess, and subtle earthiness. 

Vintage grower champagnes are the crème de la crème and come in a variety of styles. These wines have a creamy and nutty characteristic that only strengthens with age. Because of their high acidity, winemakers can age them for a long time, creating unique and delicious wines that are worth getting your hands on.   

How Much Will I spend?

No matter which type of champagne you choose from, expect to get what you pay for. For the typical grower champagne, you’ll pay between $40 to $200 or more. 

However, there are also some excellent deals for under $40. Typically, a blanc de blanc grower champagne will be around $50 and a blanc de noir will sell around $40. 

Rosés will usually fetch a higher price tag at around $60 or more. These are often sought after, especially during the holidays.  

On the highest scale, is vintage grower champagne. These wines typically fetch prices well over $100 and are aged for at least three years. 

Some Top Grower Champagnes

While you can find hundreds of outstanding grower champagnes, there are a few that are perfect for beginners. From their affordability to delightful taste, these wines will surely make you fall in love with them. 

red electric champagne sign

Consider decanting the amazing champagnes below to let their complex range of flavors and aromas come out. You may be surprised by how well they develop over time. 

Bérêche

Try the Bérèche family’s Bérèche et Fils Brut Réserve. This beautiful wine is made with a blend of grapes from the family’s vineyard which is almost 200 years old. 

André Jacquart

If you want to enjoy something truly special, try to find André Jacquart’s ‘Solera’ Réserve Perpétuelle 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut. This wine is full of bright acidity and rich aromas that only the finest chardonnay can produce. 

Egly-Ouriet

Egly-Ouriet’s Brut Tradition is an outstanding wine with rich earthiness, butter, acidity, and complex minerality that makes it stand apart. You’ll love pairing this wine with a range of dishes or just on its own. 

Why you Should Find a Grower Champagne Near You

If you’re new to sparkling wine or a connoisseur, chances are you’ve heard about grower champagne. These up-and-coming bubbles are winning over more fans every year because of their unique profiles and complexity. 

From under $50 deals to special vintages that run over $200, there’s a grower champagne for everyone and every occasion. If you want to try something special, consider skipping the Krugs and Veuve Clicquots and reach for an under the radar grower champagne.