The Champenois have a cheek. First they present us with some of the world's most expensive wine and now they're asking us to pay to help them make it.
Some Champagne growers are offering these special Champagne Harvest Days in September this year during which those who sign up become grape pickers for a day, or at least for a morning. This clever idea is described as 'an original and friendly way to learn more about champagne - you start with breakfast at the producers, followed by a tour of their vineyards and a grape-picking initiation session. The afternoon is dedicated to a visit of the cellars and the wine press and traditionally ends with a champagne tasting! (exact programme varies)'.
Growers offering this carefully worded experience include:
Champagne Launois Père & Fils, in the Côte des Blancs (Marne)
Price: €56 per person
Tel: +33 3 26 57 50 15
2 avenue Eugène Guillaume
51190 LE MESNIL SUR OGER
Champagne Jobart Abel et Fils, in the Montagne de Reims (Marne)
Price: €38 per person
Tel: +33 3 26 61 89 89
4 rue de la Sous-préfecture
Champagne Château de Bligny, in the Côte des Bars (Aube)
Price: €50 per person
Tel: +33 3 25 27 40 11
A complete list of growers offering these Champagne Harvest Days is available from the Aube (Tel: +33 3 25 42 50 00) and Marne (Tel: +33 3 26 68 37 52) tourist boards. Last year champagne sales totaled 4.5 billion euros, including 2.3 million euros earned by flogging champagne outside France.