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Just a couple hours northeast of Paris lies one of the world’s most coveted winemaking regions, Champagne. The Champagne region is not only the mecca of sparkling wine but also holds a rich history. Within Champagne, Reims and Épernay are the two most visited towns for champagne tasting. During our champagne day trip with Take Walks, we spent most of our time in Épernay. Though before indulging in the famed bubbly spirit, we dove into the impressive history that has shaped the success of this winemaking region.
First stop on the tour was Hautevillers to witness the Benedictine Abbey where Monk, Dom Pérignon, is buried. Dom Pérignon is credited with discovering the in-bottle, double fermentation process that produces champagne. According to stories, after Pérignon’s first time tasting champagne, he claimed that he was “drinking the stars.” Our next stop was off to discover “the stars” for ourselves.
Following a short stop for coffee and French pastries, we made our way via private transport to Épernay. Épernay is home to some of the most famous champagne houses, including Moët & Chandon (also the owner of Dom Pérignon). Here you can champagne taste your way down the most expensive street in France, Avenue de Champagne, to explore endless underground cellars of aging champagne, and learn about the unique double fermentation process that makes this effervescent drink so spectacular.
During our day in Épernay, we explored the process of champagne making and producing. Starting at a family operated vineyard, we first uncovered the process of growing and harvesting organic grapes on the vineyard itself.
After harvest, we were walked through the steps of post-harvest, champagne production. As we sipped on a fabulous glass of bubbly, we were lead through the production facilities where grapes are pressed, fermented, riddled, and then aged.
With our new found understanding and appreciation for precise and scientific methods of champagne making, we headed to the tasting rooms. Here we sipped on a wider variety of champagnes, including one of my favorites, Rosé champagne.
After our first round of champagne tasting, we took a lunch break. After indulging in a typical, French lunch, accompanied by another glass of Champagne, we met back up with our guide and made our way to Moët & Chandon. We toured their entire Champagne facility and gained behind-the-scenes access on their champagne production, fermentation and aging processes. Finally, we capped off our day of champagne tasting with a glass of Moët’s classic, Brut Imperial.
If you are looking for an adventure outside of Paris, and are a fan of bubbly as much as I am, this is the perfect day trip outing. Take Walks does an incredible job of not only providing privy information on champagne but also an in-depth background of the Champagne region and the history of the winemakers themselves.