Champagne’s Timeline

  • 52 BCE Caesar’s invasion of Gaul complete – Romans control northern France. Wine culture had spread slowly north in France after the Greek colonisation of Marseille from 600BCE, and grew under the Roman Empire. Burgundy and Moselle established 3rd and 4th centuries BCE and vineyards probably established around Reims in 5th century.
  • Reims a Gallic tribe of Remi) then a major Roman city, the biggest in France, and hub of trade routes. Romans began excavation of chalk cellars.
  • The Franks invade France from 5th century CE ending Roman rule. In 497CE Clovis, King of Franks is converted to Christianity by Remi, Bishop of Reims, on the church site of what was to become the Cathedral Notre Dame. The city’s prestige as the spiritual home of France is assured and Hugh Capet is crowned French king there in 987. Some 33 kings have been crowned there, the last Charles X in 1825.
  • Champagne’s legendary elite status is thus assured by a context of regal, state, aristocratic and church grandeur. Monarchs endow powerful monastries who develop wine growing. Hautvillers Abbey founded 650 and has 40ha of vines. Cistercian Bernard of Clairvaux founds Clairvaux Abbey in the Côte des Bar 1115; it is a big landowner, including vines.

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