The vineyards of the ‘Côte des Bar’ represent about 7000 hectares. Most of them are located in the Barséquanais. The champagne is produced by ‘vineyards owners’ (who work and make wine themselves with the product of their vines) or gathered winegrowers who are members of a cooperative. For about three centuries, the passion of the men of Champagne, the respect of traditions enriched by the newest œnologic technics are at the origin of exceptional wines, famous around the world and often winners of wine competitions. All the art of the winegrower consists in obtaining a well-balanced and harmonious wine with a characteristic taste consistent from one year to the next. The quality depends on the rigor of these winegrowers at all the stages. Three vine-stocks are adapted to the soil of Champagne: Pinot Noir and Meunier, black grapes with white juice and Chardonnay, which gives white grapes.
THE CHAMPAGNE AND ITS HISTORY
Vine growing is an old cultivation in this area and particularly on Bar sur Seine soil. The planting of the vines dates back to the time of the Bas Empire (284-395 AC). It has developed considerably since the 11th century. In 1550 the production reached 20000 hectolitres for Bar sur Seine from an area of 1000 wine producing hectares. In the 17th century the town produced only common wines. The prices are low and much lower than the Marnais wines. In the 19th century, the vineyards experienced successive crises, in particular with the phylloxera (vine disease) which ravaged the vineyards in 1890.
The 20th began with conflicts due to the demarcation of the ‘Champagne’ appellation. The strong Marnais Winegrowers Union worked to exclude the Aubois vineyards from appellation and particularly
those of the Barséquanais. The pretext was that until the Revolution, the Bar County was part of the province of Burgundy. This determination was due to the fact that the merchants bought wine cheaper in the Aube than in the Marne.
An order of 1909 excluded Aube from the Champagne appellation areas. The act dated 6th February 1911, promulgated on 11th February, forbade the Aubois winegrowers to sell their grapes to the Marne for the champagne process.
This law created an explosion because it ruined the Aubois winegrowers, who had just reconstituted their vineyards. This law provoked the famous winegrowers revolt, led by Gaston CHEQ. The army was sent (more than 3000 men) in Bar sur Seine on the 3rd of May to calm the fury of the winegrowers and then in the surrounding villages.
On the 11th of June, a sub-zone Champagne appellation was created by the government for the Aube department. The struggle of the Aubois for absolute reintegration continued. After years of pressure, the law of the 22nd July 1927 reintegrated all the Aubois districts in the ‘Champagne’ appellation. The Aubois vineyard was saved for good.
But dreadful frost in 1926, 1927 and 1929 caused considerable damages. The decline persisted with the economical crisis of 1930.
It was only after the second world year that the reconstitution of noble types of vines (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Meunier) took place. Nowadays Bar sur Seine counts 16 ha Champagne appellation vineyards, 5013 ha in the Barséquanais and 7090 ha on the ‘Côte des Bar’. Many activities linked to the wine making have been introduced to the town: vine laboratories, oenological institutes, vine studies among other things.