These days, many of the grower-producers are selling all the Champagne they can make. Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy, who has 14 hectares in the Vallée de la Marne, is the fifth generation in his family to grow grapes in the region. While his family has always made a little wine, they began to emphasize Champagne production in the bad years after World War II, when they were unable to sell their grapes to the big houses. In the 1970’s Mr. Geoffroy’s father decided to keep all the grapes and turn them into Champagne. Walking through a hillside vineyard in Cumières overlooking the Marne, Mr. Geoffroy’s parcels were easy to distinguish from the others. The lush green grass growing between his rows of bare vines was evidence of his distaste for chemical pesticides and herbicides. “If you don’t have passion, you won’t make very good Champagne,” he said as he strolled the vineyard, waving at local hunters who also walked the rows, shotguns in hand, searching for rabbits and pheasants.
“While this prominent grower estate has recently moved to the village of Aÿ, the Geoffroy name is inextricably linked to that of Cumières, where the family has winegrowing roots that date back to the 17th century. Today Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy and his father René farm 14 hectares of vines, 11 of which are in Cumières. A few parcels are located just across the border to the west in the adjacent village of Damery, while the rest is all meunier in the nearby village of Fleury-la-Rivière.
Geoffroy’s vines average about 20 years of age, and the oldest is from 1926. Viticulture is described as lutte intégrée, or “integrated pest control”—it is heavily aimed at sustainability, eschewing all chemical weedkillers and employing methods such as the planting of cover crops, tilling of the soil, and the encouraged habitation of predatory insects to combat vine pests.”
-Peter Liem, Champagneguide.net