France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Möet et Chandon, Épernay, France
One of the oldest and most prestigious champagne houses in Épernay!

Moet et Chandon, Epernay, France
A chandelier made of
champagne glasses? Bien sur!


 

 

 

As you enter the courtyard of the Möet et Chandon champagne house, you are greeted by a statue of Dom Perignon (1638 - 1715). Often called the "inventor" of champagne, he was, in fact, a cellar master at the Benedictine Abbey in nearby Hautvillers. While he advanced quality improvements, he was not the first to make champagne. The house of Möet et Chandon bought the Dom Perignon brand in the early 20th century.

Champagne Möet was founded in 1743 by Claude Möet. His grandson Jean-Remy is credited with building the brand through his friendship with Napoléon and his efforts to take Moët et Chandon international. Jean-Remy's daughter Adelaide married Pierre-Gabriel Chandon, and Moët et Chandon was formed. You'll meet these important founders (or at least their portraits) as your tour begins in the elegant lobby where they entertained their guests.

Following a brief introduction and history, your tour group (15 people maximum) will watch a short video that illustrates the champagne making process. No need for translation here: there's no narration, just music and beautiful photographs.

Your guide will then lead the group down the stairs (about 50 steps) to the caves. Looking at a map of the region, the guide explains that Moët always uses all three grapes (chardonny, pinot noir, and pinot meunier) in its champagnes. (The exception is Dom Perignon, which is made from pinot noir and chardonnay only.) Moët buys 75% of its grapes from small growers and brings in fruit from different villages.

The tour continues down another 15 steps to the oldest caves, dating from the 18th century. Behind a locked grill are the reserves, a collection of wine from all years, dating back to 1869.

You'll also pass through the Imperial Gallery, named for Napoléon, who visited in 1807 and later gave a very large keg of port to the owners. The keg is on display and you'll pass it on the tour.

Moet et Chandon, Epernay, France
One of the many corridors in the caves of Moët et Chandon—and they're all filled with bottles and bottles of champagne!

Moët et Chandon has 28 kilometers (17 miles) of caves. But don't worry—your visit won't make you walk that much! But you will get to pass through a large corridor that holds thousands of magnums of Dom Perignon. Walk carefully!

Like other top houses, Moët et Chandon ages its wines longer than the required minimum. Instead of 15 months, they're aged 3 years; for vintages, 7 years. And for Dom Perignon (which is always vintage) it is a minimum of 7 years, with second and third releases at 18 and 25 years.

The tour is very informative, and the small group size makes it possible to ask questions and converse with the guide. We learned that over 100,000 people take part in the champagne vendanges, or grape harvest, each year! By law all champagne grapes must be picked by hand, and careful handling of the grapes is required.

And then it's on to the tasting! Moët et Chandon has a series of small tasting rooms to accommodate the different tours.

Moët's Traditional Tour includes one glass of champagne, while the slightly more expensive Imperial Tour includes two, and the Grand Vintage Tour (more expensive) allows you to taste two from that category. We took the Imperial Tour and tasted the Impérial and the Rosé Impérial. Both were delicious, and the pours were generous! The sommeliers explained the different champagnes that Moët offers and were available to answer questions.

And of course, as you leave you'll pass through the gift shop, where you'll have the opportunity to buy champagne, admire the large Dom Perignon display, and the champagne- themed decor.

This was a fascinating tour, educational and informative. It was enhanced by the elegant waiting room and the quick glimpse into the family history and living spaces. The small group was very comfortable, and the tasting enjoyable.

Moët et Chandon is easy to find, as it is just across the street from the Tourist Information Office in Épernay, and a short walk from the train station.

For an idea of some other champagne visits, check our pages on visits to Canard-Duchêne, Mercier, Pannier, and Taittinger. And for more information on champagne and what makes it unique, check out our page All About Champagne Wines.

Moët et Chandon
20 Avenue de Champagne
Épernay, France 51200
+33 (0)3 26 51 20 00


What to See & Do in Épernay

What to See & Do in Reims

Champagne House Visit

All About Champagne Wines

About Champagne Wineries

About Épernay

Hotels in Épernay

Épernay Transport

Reims Transport

Champagne Region

 

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Moet et Chandon tasting, Epernay, France

Above, Our guide and the sommeliers prepare glasses for our tasting at the end of the tour.

Below, It was awesome to walk through a corridor lined with magnums of Dom Perignon! Remember a magnum is the equivalent of two bottles.

 

Moet et Chandon, Dom Perignon

Dom Perignon, Moet et Chandon, Epernay, France
Above, The statue of Dom Perignon in the courtyard of Moët et Chandon, Épernay.


 

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