For my birthday this year my husband asked me what I wanted. Jokingly I told him “a vineyard… not just any old vineyard but a Champagne vineyard”. Well, we’re no millionaires but my dream came true and there was change from 100 Euros. There is you see, a way to have your cake and eat it when you know how, or rather to buy a French vineyard for less than the price of a bottle of Dom Perignon.
My grapes grow almost in the shadow of Hautvillers, the town where Dom Perignon lived and created Champagne. It’s in the heart of the Champagne region and from its vines comes the most delicious Champagne. Change from a 100 Euros I can hear you say – you think I’ve gone mad don’t you.
A vineyard in Champagne for less than a bottle of Dom Perignon!
I haven’t. My birthday present was a row of vines in a beautiful vineyard owned by the Fresne-Ducret family, 7th generation (at least) Champagne growers in Epernay. So I don’t own a whole vineyard but I do get a whole row for a year! It also offers a rare chance for you to get up close to the whole process of wine and Champagne making in a totally unique way.
On my birthday I received a certificate stating I am the owner of a row of vines and I can go and visit them when I want and I get a bottle of Champagne made from the grapes. Not only that, each year the Champagne maker holds a master class on blending Champagne with a fabulous lunch at the vineyard. It does cost extra but, it’s a great opportunity and for a Champagne fan like me, irresistible!
Of course I’ve been to visit my vineyard – I mean, who can resist?! I met Pierre Fresne of Domaine Fresne-Ducret and his lovely wife and their children at their home where they have a shop and tasting room in the absolutely gorgeous village of Ville-Dommange. I visited the vineyards on a sunny day just before the harvest which was due to take place in September, the same month as my birthday. The grapes were lush and ripening still, tasted the Champagne and really got to feel as if I had a connection to this wonderful part of France. And the Champagne – utterly delicious. There are several types so it depends on your taste but I loved Pierre’s “every day” bubbles, and, lucky me, I get the opportunity to buy a crate at a reduced price made from the grapes in “my vineyard” as part of my package.
Next year I’m going to ask for a Porche!