Champagne, an ancient province of France, bounded N. by Belgium, E. by Lorraine, S. E. by Franche-Comte, S. by Burgundy and Niver-nais, and W. by Orleanais, He de France, and Picardy. Capital, Troyes. For a long time it was governed by local princes, and was united to the crown of France in the 14th century. At present it comprises the departments of Aube, Marne, Haute-Marne, Ardennes, and part of the departments of Scine-et-Marne, Aisne, Yonne, and Meuse. It is chiefly celebrated for its wines, containing about 125,000 acres of vine-growing land.
The present department of Marne, however, alone produces what is technically known in commerce as champagne wine. The department of Ardennes produces a common red wine, which is exclusively consumed by the inhabitants. The best of it is wanting in body, spirit, and color, and will not bear exportation or keeping. Of the product of the department of Haute-Marne, about one half is consumed at home, the remainder being sold in the vicinity. The quality of these wines is superior to those of Ardennes. The department of Aube produces a red wine, the larger portion of which is reserved for home consumption. The better classes of wine are strong-bodied and heady, requiring to be kept at least two years before they are fit for use. Some excellent white wines are produced here. The department of Marne has about 46,000 acres of vineyards, which produce red and white wines, one third of which, principally the former, is consumed within the department, the rest forming one of the great staples of the commerce of the district.
The arrondissements of Rheims and Epernay contain the most celebrated vineyards. (See France, Wines of.)