The “Grand cru” appellation

bouteille géante au parc Vix à Avize village classé Grand Cru dans l'appellation Champagne

Did you know? Only 17 villages of the Champagne region are classified “Grand cru”, including Avize. Find out more about the meaning of this appellation.

A “cru” means a village in a wine-making region: there are 319 over 4 sub-regions in the Champagne appellation.

Discover the four sub-regions of Champagne
  • Côte des Blancs in the South of Epernay
  • Montagne de Reims around Reims
  • Vallée de la Marne between Epernay and Paris
  • Côte des Bars in the South of the region near Troyes

These crus are ranked depending on the quality of their terroir, that is to say several criteria such as the climate, the exposure to the sun, and mostly the chalky soil. The more chalk, the better for making champagne because the chalk acts like a sponge, it absorbs rainwater and gives it back to the vines when they need it. No need for an irrigation system in Champagne, it all happens naturally!

17 champenois villages have the “Grand cru” classification which is the highest rank because it means that the village received a 100% grade for the quality of its terroir. They amount to less than 9% of all the Champagne vineyards area. 9 of theses crus are on the Montagne de Reims, 2 in the Vallée de la Marne and 6 on the Côte des Blancs.

Discover the “Grand cru” villages on the Côte des Blancs
  • Chouilly
  • Le Mesnil-sur-Oger
  • Cramant
  • Oiry
étiquette de bouteille de champagne Blanc de blancs de la marque Agrapart & fils vigneron à Avize Grand cru Côte des Blancs

44 villages are classified “Premier cru” with a grade between 99% et 90%.

This ranking system dates back to the 20th century and was meant to determine the price of grapes in each village. To this day, the phrase “Grand cru” or “Premier cru” still appears on the label of some champagne bottles as a guarantee of quality.