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Échelle des crus

Designation (ladder of growths) for the classification of vineyards in the French wine-growing region of Champagne. In contrast to the Bordeaux or Burgundy classification, this does not apply to specific vineyards or sites, but to communes. This means that all vineyards located there are classified. It began in the 18th century, when individual sites were ranked according to quality in order to determine grape prices. It is said that the distance of the vineyard from the press house was the original decision criterion. The shorter the distance to the press after the grape harvest, the fresher the grapes and therefore the higher the classification. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Champagne houses exerted great pressure on the many small grape suppliers due to oversupply. In the process, the authorised buyers also used questionable practices, including intimidation and bribery, to achieve low prices. At that time, prices ranged from 50 to 100% and only 12 communes were awarded 100% Grand Cru status.

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