After a trip to the location, I have gotten to witness first hand the two polarising views about which of the two cities, Reims vs. Épernay, deserves the title of “capital of champagne”. This blog entry is not here to give a definitive answer, because at the end of the day, it is a matter of personal opinion. So, to help you decide which city you think should make the claim as the Capital of Champagne, let’s state some facts about them:
- A city steeped in history, it boasts THE cathedral where the Kings of France from ages of old were crowned. Therefore it is like what Cantebury is to England and what Aachen is to Germany. If you consider champagne a “royal” drink, then perhaps this point would persuade you.
- Many well-known champagne brands (a.k.a. “grandes marques”) are based in Reims. When you’ve checked in early the next time you are at an airport, walk over to the duty free shopping area and read the labels. You’ll find that many such brands available in those shops are based in Reims.
- There are no vineyards in the vicinity of the city.
- The city is not entirely devoted to champagne; it is also the home to other industries. This results in no concentration of champagne “houses” (headquarters). They are spread all across the city.
- The industry of champagne dominates the way of life in the city. All the famous champagne “houses” (headquarters) that are based in Épernay are on the appropriately named “Avenue de Champagne”.
- There are vineyards in the vicinity of Épernay.
- It is smaller than Reims and not as well known, unless you’re a champagne enthusiast.
- There are only a few world famous brand to be located in Épernay. Basically, this city is home to ultra-premium brands but mainstream consumers are more likely to have heard of Pommery than Pol Roger.
You might not agree with the points I’ve made. You might debate with me by correctly pointing out that champagne is made from a blend of grapes from different vineyards, so it doesn’t matter if Reims doesn’t have any close by while Épernay does. In the end, it is up to you to decide which of the two should be considered the capital of champagne.
Please leave your opinion in the comments section below or reblog this entry.