Champagne Harvest 2012 is coming soon


How would you like to join us here in Champagne and experience the highlight of the year – The Harvest?  We’ve put together a programme so you can do just that!

Between the 20th and 30th September, you have the opportunity of becoming part of the harvesting team for one day,  picking the grapes, following them to the “pressoir”, tasting the juice as it comes directly from the crushed grapes, and experiencing the atmosphere and excitement of this special time.

Your day will begin at one of our favourite champagne maker’s “vendangeoir” where you’ll pick up your secateurs and be taken into the vineyards with the team, where you’ll begin picking.  You’ll then follow the process back at the “pressoir” and witness first hand how it’s all done champagne-style.

A traditional harvester’s lunch and some serious champagne tasting is included, and all you need to do now is to book yourself a place by clicking here.

The package includes:

  • Two nights’ B&B accommodation at Les Molyneux
  • Dinner on your arrival night with champagne and wine
  • A full day out with one of our favourite champagne makers

Prices are 355 euros for one person and 520 euros for two people sharing a room.

Here’s what you need to do now:

  1. Simply Click Here to book your accommodation at Les Molyneux
  2. Choose two nights’ between the 20th and 30th September
  3. Put a note for us in the Comments Box of the reservation form that you want to come on the Harvest Special

That’s it!  We’ll then organise your day’s harvesting, and be in touch with you again very soon.

Places are limited, so hurry and book now and we’ll see you soon in Champagne!

Yvonne

x

Champagne Stories from the Vineyards

What a priviledge it is to be able to live and work in Champagne!  I am in awe of the beauty of the landscape and the work and toil of the people every single day.  My drive to the supermarket is through vineyards owned by such luminaries as Moet et Chandon, Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot and I marvel at their visions which began almost 3 centuries ago.

I am indeed lucky.

But life wasn’t always bubbly in Champagne. After the devastation of the phylloxera epidemic during the late 1800s and the wine growers’ revolts in the early 1900s, the emergence of champagne as we know it today began.  But life was still tough, and many farmers were very poor.  So much so that over the years, many of their offspring left the bubbly trade in search of adventure elsewhere.

One of those sons is our friend Christian Briard, who after having explored life without bubbles, has returned to his roots and taken up the baton in his grandfather’s champagne business, Champagne Christian Briard, in the Marne Valley.

Christian explains what lead him to where he is now in this interesting article and I encourage you to read it here

 

Spring has Sprung in Champagne

Spring has sprung in Champagne, and the vines are in bud, the blossom is out on the cherry trees and the pear tree, and we’re ready to welcome our guests for the 2012 season which officially starts this weekend at Easter.

What’s new?

The Blue Room is still the Blue Room but it’s now a different shade of blue.  We’ve re-decorated it in duck-egg blue and cream, which we hope you will like.

Champagne Tours and Tastings is our new offering this year, with three options to choose from

(link to webpage)

Jiles will be your Guide and will let you into all the secrets of the champagne region and production, sharing stories and anecdotes along the way.

The “Champagne Day” app is your essential resource for your trip, containing our personal network of contacts built up over 17 years of living and working here in the region.  Videos of the people and places will help you to plan your trip and “virtually” meet them before you even arrive here.  Past guests have said how much they have appreciated having it with them on their ipads and iphones.  The free upgrade to Version 2 with even more special people and places will be available in June.

As it’s an even year (2012), the Fete Henri IV takes place in Ay on the 7/8/9 July.  This is a great festival to visit if you’re in the area at that time.  Tasting champagnes in style at some of the bigger houses such as Bollinger, allows us to dream of another world, and of course, the smaller independent producers open their doors to welcome you too.

Plus many more exciting and interesting things to do and see in Champagne in 2012.  Come on down!

 

Categories: B&B

Give more to get more

I posted a blog recently on a friend’s website which focusses on the good news about being an entrepreneur.  It’s about giving more to get more and my philosophy on business and you can read it here.

I love working for myself, because I love making my own decisions, but there is a responsibility too, and sometimes things don’t always go right.  But if we focus on the value we can add to our customers, suppliers and community, then I believe that it will all come right in the end.  What goes around comes around as they say, and I believe in that very much.

As entrepreneurs, we are in a unique position of being able to add value in so many ways.  It’s a priviledged position which we cannot afford to take lightly.

I’d love to know what you think, so go ahead and click here to read the full post and please do leave us a comment with your thoughts.

 

Champagne, Institutions And Why Don’t We Listen?

Just got back home from a local networking event in Epernay, near to where I live in Champagne.  The networking event was the first “Speed Networking” event held in Epernay, and I must say I was surprised and impressed to get an invitation.  At least they’re trying, I thought.

The focus of the event was twofold.

First, to bring all us operators in the tourist industry together to share ideas, meet new people and find the odd JV.  I thought this was a very good idea and quietly congratulated the new Director of the Tourist Office.

Secondly to unveil their new iniatiative on getting us all grouped together under yet another banner “Vignobles et Decouvertes”.  We’re already with “Gites de France”, “Tourisme Marne”, “CDT” to name but a few, all of which are supposed to give us credibility and assure the tourists.  And maybe it does, I really don’t know.  All I know is that I have paid handsomely to belong to these institutions in the past and I really can’t recall how much extra business they have brought me, but it’s not a lot.

We were told that the worthies had been down to Burgundy to see what they were doing down there and saw said V&D in action and thought it might be a good idea to do that in Champagne.

And it might be, but my point is “how will this help our visitors, those precious souls who come from far and wide to Champagne, with their expectations, their dreams and their money”  and I’m not sure I can see the answer to that question right now.

So often in business, and I’m as guilty as the next person, we focus on what we want or what we think our customers want, not really listening to their deepest desires and goals.  I wonder how much real research has been done into what visitors really want when they come to Champagne.  When I say real research, I mean asking good questions and then listening to the response without judgement.

I don’t think anyone would have revealed a deep desire to have a label “Vignobles et Decouvertes”  do you?

 

Champagne Tasting in Champagne

April is one of the best times to come to Champagne, before the season really gets going, and if you’re a champagne enthusiast, you’ll definitely want to be at one of four of the best and most dynamic champagne tastings taking place this year.

The first is the Terroirs et Talents de Champagne and  takes place in Epernay on  Sunday 13th and 14th April at the Restaurant Au  Théatre. In no particular order (!) Champagne producers taking part at this tasting will include:

From La Montagne de Reims:

  • Aspasie
  • Maxime Blin
  • Penet Chardonnet

From La Côte des Blancs:

  • de Sousa
  • André Jacquart
  • Vazart Coquart

From La Vallée de la Marne:

  • Janisson Baradon
  • Michel Loriot
  • Sélèque

And Jacques Copinet from Le Sézannais
and  Coessens from further south in La Côte des Bar

To book your place at this event, simply email: terroirs.et.talents@gmail.com

Your next date is on  Monday 14th for the Terres et Vins de Champagne at the
Hotel Castel Jeanson, Ay, and in no particular order,  the champagnes being presented at this tasting will include:

  • Horiot
  • Agrapart
  • Françoise Bedel
  • Bérche
  • Francis Boulard
  • Chartogne-Taillet
  • Couche
  • Doquet
  • René Geoffroy
  • Etienne Goutourbe
  • Jeauneaux-Robin
  • Benoit Lahaye
  • Laherte Fréres
  • Tarlant
  • Leclapart
  • Franck Pascal
  • Hubert Paulet
  • Pouillon & Fils

Go here to book your place at this event (the picture is from last year’s event, sadly)

http://www.terresetvinsdechampagne.com/home/formulaire.php

Go to Formulaire d’Inscription

And third is Les Artisans du Champagne on 15th April at Chateau Les Crayeres, Reims.  You’ll be able to meet and chat with these producers there:

  • Maillard
  • Paillard
  • Savart
  • Huré
  • Hébrard
  • Gerbais
  • Doyard
  • JL Vergon
  • Alfred Gratien
  • Margaine
  • Vilmart
  • Lancleot Pienne
  • Dehours
  • Gonet Médeville

You’ll need to go here to get yourself into this event:

http://www.lesartisansduchampagne.com/

Go to Inscription en Lignes,

And finally, on the 16th April, David Pehu and his group will be presenting their champagnes, venue to be confirmed.

Well, if that’s not a great selection of small producers, I don’t know what is! Looking forward to seeing you in Champagne in April.

Stay Bubbly!

Boating in Champagne

On my theme of introducing you to non-champagne activities in Champagne this year, here’s a fun way to pass the time here.

On the River Marne, just on the outskirts of Epernay is the Municipal Camp Site.  If you park your car at the entrance and walk through the campsite, following the signs for Blue Nautic, you’ll reach Christine’s great little boating business, right there on the banks of the river.

Imagine a summer’s day, your picnic in hand, perhaps a bottle of bubbly you picked up the day before when you visited the underground caves of a small champagne producer, and the kids in tow.

Christine will welcome you in English and help you into your life jackets.  You step into your electric boat, take the wheel and you’re off!  Crusing your own little boat down the river.

Over to the right is the famous village of Hautvillers where Dom Perignon the father of champagne, and his monks perfected the art of keeping the bubbles in the bottle by initiating the second fermentation.   You could explore that village tomorrow, and stop by the wonderful Au36, a tasting room and shop dedicated to the smaller, unknown champagnes.  Beyond the hills are more vineyards and pretty villages to discover.  Another “maybe” for the next day, or the next…

You could spot a heron on the river bank, or some swans nesting in the reeds.  Just relaxing on the river, letting the quiet engine sweep you along.

You’re travelling downstream towards Cumieres where they make not only great champagne, but also “Cumiere Rouge”, the red wine used to blend with the white champagne to make rosé.  Maybe you’ll stop off at a small producer there tomorrow and discover another hidden gem.

What could be more relaxing and fun that this?

Happy Christmas from Champagne

It’s almost Christmas and I just wanted to take a minute to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas from all of us here at Les Molyneux.  Thank you for choosing to stay with us in Champagne and we really hope to be able to welcome you again in 2012.  It snowed here overnight and the vineyards look beautiful.  If you’re driving to the mountains over the holidays, we’ll be here and we’d love to see you.

In the meantime, on behalf of myself and my family, and of course, Pepper, HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Yvonne

x

Categories: B&B

Gifts for foodies – Champagne Gastronomie

Our Champagne Gastronomie Gift Box is perfect for all those foodies in your life.  Packed full with Champagne regional specialities you simply won’t find anywhere else, we’re certain that this gift will delight and surprise anyone who loves to enjoy good food.  Here’s what you’ll find inside

  • Fossier Savoury Biscuits made specially to be enjoyed with champagne
  • 3 different flavours of mustard from local producer, Clovis – curry, cucumber, tarragon
  • Fossier chocolate and almond biscuits to enjoy anytime
  • 3 different flavours of vinegar to spice up your salad dressing – mango, raspberry, prune
  • Chocolates filled with champagne liqueurs – marc, fine and ratafia
  • Unique and delicious salad-dressing oil made from the pips, skins and stalks of the champagne grapes

A delight to the tastebuds and all wrapped up in a beautiful gift box for any appreciative palate.

Price includes all contents, gift box and shipping

Champagne Gastronomie
Our Champagne Gastronomie Gift Box is perfect for all those foodies in your life. Packed full with Champagne regional specialities you simply won’t find anywhere else. Click on the title to read more

 

 

Gifts for Him – Champagne Connoisseur

 

A quirky selection of great champagne related gifts all beautifully presented in our Champagne Connoisseur gift box.  Inside you’ll find:

  • A book for keeping the labels of your favourite champagnes, plus a unique system for removing the labels all in tact from the bottles
  • A little book for writing down your notes on all those wonderful champagnes you’ve tasted, so you’ll know what to look for next time
  • Test your knowledge with this fun champagne trivia quiz (in English) to amuse you and your friends at your next party
  • A hermetically sealed champagne stopper, for when you really can’t finish the bottle
  • A pourer to make sure you don’t spill a single drop
  • And a lovely apron to protect your clothes, just in case you do spill a bit

All beautifully presented in a gift box for yourself or for the special champagne connoisseur in your life

Price includes all contents, gift box and shipping

Champagne Connoisseur
A selection of unusual gifts to delight and inspire the Champagne Connoisseur in your life. Click on the title to read more.