Facts About Champagne and Other Sparkling Wines
by Henry Vizetelly
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The vignerons of the Champagne regard the numerous stakes which support the vines as affording some protection against the white frosts of the spring. To guard against the dreaded effects of these frosts, which invariably occur between early dawn and sunrise, and the loss arising from which is estimated to amount annually to 25 per cent. some of the cultivators place heaps of hay, faggots, dead leaves, &c., about twenty yards apart, taking care to keep them moderately damp. When a frost is feared the heaps on the side of the vineyard whence the wind blows are set light to, whereupon the dense smoke which rises spreads horizontally over the vines, producing the same result as an actual cloud, intercepting the rays of the sun, warming the atmosphere, and converting the frost into dew. Among other methods adopted to shield the vines from frosts is the joining of branches of broom together in the form of a fan, and afterwards fastening them to the end of a pole, which is placed obliquely in the ground, so that the fan may incline over the vine and protect it from the sun's rays. A single labourer can plant, it is said, as many as eight thousand of these fans in the ground in the course of a long day.

Dr. Guyot's system of roofing the vines with straw matting, to protect them alike against frost and hailstorms, is very generally followed in low situations in the Champagne, the value of the wine admitting of so considerable an expense being incurred. This matting, which is about a foot and a half in width, and in rolls of great length, is fastened either with twine or wire to the vine stakes, and it is estimated that half-a-dozen men can fix nearly 11,000 yards of it, or sufficient to roof over 2 acres of vines, during an ordinary day.

Owing to the system of cultivation by rejuvenescence, and the constant replenishing of the soil by well-compounded manures, the Champenois winegrowers entertain great hopes that their vineyards will escape the ravages of the phylloxera vastatrix. According to Dr. Plonquet of Ay they are already the prey of no less than fifteen varieties of insects, which feed upon the leaves, stalks, roots, or fruit of the vines. Between 1850 and 1860 the vineyards of Ay were devastated by the pyrale, a species of caterpillar, which feeds on the young leaves and shoots until the vine is left completely bare. The insect eventually becomes transformed into a small white butterfly, and deposits its eggs either in the crevices of the stakes or in the stalks of the vine. All the efforts made to rid the vineyards of this scourge proved ineffectual until the wet and cold weather of 1860 put a stop to the insect's ravages. More recently it has been discovered that its attacks can be checked by sulphurous acid.


Treatment of Champagne after it comes from the Wine-Press— Racking and Blending of the Wine— Deficiency and Excess of Effervescence— Strength and Form of Champagne Bottles— The "Tirage" or Bottling of the Wine— The Process of Gas-making commences— Inevitable Breakage follows— Wine Stacked in Piles— Formation of Sediment— Bottles placed "sur pointe" and Daily Shaken— Effect of this occupation on those incessantly engaged in it— "Claws" and "Masks"— Champagne Cellars— Their Construction and Aspect— Transforming the "vin brut" into Champagne— Disgorging and Liqueuring the Wine— The Corking, Stringing, Wiring, and Amalgamating— The Wine's Agitated Existence comes to an End— The Bottles have their Toilettes made— Champagne sets out on its beneficial Pilgrimage.

The special characteristic of champagne is that its manufacture only just commences where that of other wines ordinarily ends. The must flows direct from the press into capacious reservoirs, whence it is drawn off into large vats, and after being allowed to clear, is transferred to casks holding some forty-four gallons each. Although the bulk of the new-made wine is left to repose at the vendangeoirs until the commencement of the following year, still when the vintage is over numbers of long narrow carts laden with casks of it are to be seen rolling along the dusty highways leading to those towns and villages in the Marne where the manufacture of champagne is carried on. Chief amongst these is the cathedral city of Reims, after which comes the rising town of Epernay, stretching to the very verge of the river, then Ay, nestled between the vine-clad slopes and the Marne canal, with the neighbouring village of Mareuil, and finally Avize, in the centre of the white grape district southwards of Epernay. Chlons, owing to its distance from the vineyards, would scarcely draw its supply of wine until the new year. The first fermentation lasts from a fortnight to a month, according as to whether the wine be mou—that is, rich in sugar—or the reverse. In the former case fermentation naturally lasts much longer than when the wine is vert or green. This active fermentation is converted into latent fermentation by transferring the wine to a cooler cellar, as it is essential it should retain a large proportion of its natural saccharine to ensure its future effervescence. The casks have previously been completely filled, and their bungholes tightly stopped, a necessary precaution to guard the wine from absorbing oxygen, the effect of which would be to turn it yellow and cause it to lose some of its lightness and perfume. After being racked and fined, the produce of the different vineyards is now ready for mixing together in accordance with the traditional theories of the various manufacturers, and should the vintage have been an indifferent one a certain proportion of old reserved wine of a good year enters into the blend.

The mixing is usually effected in gigantic vats holding at times as many as 12,000 gallons each, and having fan-shaped appliances inside, which, on being worked by handles, ensure a complete amalgamation of the wine. This process of marrying wine on a gigantic scale is technically known as making the cuve. Usually four-fifths of wine from black grapes are tempered by one-fifth of the juice of white ones. It is necessary that the first should comprise a more or less powerful dash of the finer growths both of the Mountain of Reims and of the River, while, as regards the latter, one or other of the delicate vintages of the Cte d'Avize is essential to the perfect cuve. The aim is to combine and develop the special qualities of the respective crs, body and vinosity being secured by the red vintages of Bouzy and Verzenay, softness and roundness by those of Ay and Dizy, and lightness, delicacy, and effervescence by the white growths of Avize and Cramant. The proportions are never absolute, but vary according to the manufacturer's style of wine and the taste of the countries which form his principal markets. The wine at this period being imperfectly fermented and crude, the reader may imagine the delicacy and discrimination of palate requisite to judge of the flavour, finesse, and bouquet which the cuve is likely eventually to develop.

These, however, are not the only matters to be considered. There is, above everything, the effervescence, which depends upon the quantity of carbonic acid gas the wine contains, and this, in turn, upon the amount of its natural saccharine. If the gas be present in excess, there will be a shattering of bottles and a flooding of cellars; and if there be a paucity the corks will refuse to pop, and the wine to sparkle aright in the glass. Therefore the amount of saccharine in the cuve has to be accurately ascertained by means of a glucometer; and if it fails to reach the required standard, the deficiency is made up by the addition of the purest sugar-candy. If, on the other hand, there be an excess of saccharine, the only thing to be done is to defer the final blending and bottling until the superfluous saccharine matter has been absorbed by fermentation in the cask.

The cuve completed, the blended wine, now resembling in taste and colour an ordinary acrid white wine, and giving to the uninitiated palate no promise of the exquisite delicacy and aroma it is destined to develop, is drawn off again into casks for further treatment. This comprises fining with some gelatinous substance, and, as a precaution against ropiness and other maladies, liquid tannin is at the same time frequently added to supply the place of the natural tannin which has departed from the wine with its reddish hue at the epoch of its first fermentation.

The operation of bottling the wine next ensues, when the Scriptural advice not to put new wine into old bottles is rigorously followed. For the tremendous pressure of the gas engendered during the subsequent fermentation of the wine is such that the bottle becomes weakened and can never be safely trusted again. It is because of this pressure that the champagne bottle is one of the strongest made, as indicated by its weight, which is almost a couple of pounds. To ensure this unusual strength it is necessary that its sides should be of equal thickness and the bottom of a uniform solidity throughout, in order that no particular expansion may ensue from sudden changes of temperature. The neck must, moreover, be perfectly round and widen gradually towards the shoulder. In addition—and this is of the utmost consequence—the inside ought to be perfectly smooth, as a rough interior causes the gas to make efforts to escape, and thus renders an explosion imminent. The composition of the glass, too, is not without its importance, as a manufactory established for the production of glass by a new process turned out champagne bottles charged with alkaline sulphurets, and the consequence was that an entire cuve was ruined by their use, through the reciprocal action of the wine and these sulphurets. The acids of the former disengaged hydrosulphuric acid, and instead of champagne the result was a new species of mineral water.

Most of the bottles used for champagnes come from the factories of Loivre (which supplies the largest quantity), Folembray, Vauxrot, and Quiquengrogne, and cost on the average from 28 to 30 francs the hundred. They are generally tested by a practised hand, who, by knocking them sharply together, professes to be able to tell from the sound that they give the substance of the glass and its temper. The washing of the bottles is invariably performed by women, who at the larger establishments accomplish it with the aid of machines, sometimes provided with a revolving brush, although small glass beads are more generally used by preference. After being washed every bottle is minutely examined to make certain of its perfect purity.

With the different champagne houses the mode of bottling the wine, which may take place any time between April and August, varies in some measure, still the tirage, as this operation is called, is ordinarily effected as follows:—The wine is emptied from the casks into vats or tuns of varying capacity, whence it flows through pipes into oblong reservoirs, each provided with a row of syphon taps, on to which the bottles are slipped, and from which the wine ceases to flow directly the bottles become filled. Men or lads remove the full bottles, replacing them by empty ones, while other hands convey them to the corkers, whose guillotine machines are incessantly in motion; next the agrafeurs secure the corks by means of an iron staple, termed an agrafe; and then the bottles are conveyed either to a capacious apartment aboveground, known as a cellier, or to a cool cellar, according to the number of atmospheres the wine may indicate. It should be explained that air compressed to half its volume acquires twice its ordinary force, and to a quarter of its volume quadruple this force—hence the phrase of two, four, or more atmospheres. The exact degree of pressure is readily ascertained by means of a manometer, an instrument resembling a pressure gauge, with a hollow screw at the base which is driven through the cork of the bottle. A pressure of 5 atmospheres constitutes what is styled a "grand mousseux," and the wine exhibiting it may be safely conveyed to the coolest subterranean depths, for no doubt need be entertained as to its future effervescent properties. Should the pressure, however, scarcely exceed 4 atmospheres, it is advisable to keep the wine in a cellier aboveground that it may more rapidly acquire the requisite sparkling qualities. If fewer than 4 atmospheres are indicated it would be necessary to pour the wine back into the casks again, and add a certain amount of cane sugar to it, but such an eventuality very rarely happens, thanks to the scientific formulas and apparatus which enable the degree of pressure the wine will show to be determined beforehand to a nicety. Still mistakes are sometimes made, and there are instances where charcoal fires have had to be lighted in the cellars to encourage the effervescence to develop itself.

The bottles are placed in a horizontal position and stacked in rows of varying length and depth, one above the other, to about the height of a man, and with narrow laths between them. Thus they will spend the summer providing all goes well, but in about three weeks' time the process of gas-making inside the bottles is at its height, and may cause an undue number of them to burst. The glucometer notwithstanding, it is impossible to check a certain amount of breakage, especially when a hot season has caused the grapes, and consequently the raw wine, to be sweeter than usual. Moreover when once casse or breakage sets in on a large scale, the temperature of the cellar is raised by the volume of carbonic acid gas let loose, which is not without its effect on the remaining bottles. The only remedy is at once to remove the wine to a lower temperature when this is practicable. A manufacturer of the pre-scientific days of the last century relates how one year, when the wine was rich and strong, he only preserved 120 out of 6,000 bottles; and it is not long since that 120,000 out of 200,000 were destroyed in the cellars of a well-known champagne firm. Over-knowing purchasers still affect to select a wine which has exploded in the largest proportion as being well up to the mark as regards its effervescence, and profess to make inquiries as to its performances in this direction.

It is evident that in spite of the teachings of science the bursting of champagne bottles has not yet been reduced to a minimum, for whereas in some cellars it averages 7 and 8 per cent., in others it rarely exceeds 2 or 3. In the month of October, the first and severest breakage being over, the newly-bottled wine is definitively stacked in the cellars in piles from two to half-a-dozen bottles deep, from six to seven feet high, and frequently a hundred feet or upwards in length. Usually the bottles remain in their horizontal position for about eighteen or twenty months, though some firms, who pride themselves upon shipping perfectly matured wines, leave them thus for double this space of time. All this while the temperature to which the wine is exposed is, as far as practicable, carefully regulated; for the risk of breakage, though greatly diminished, is never entirely at an end.

By this time the fermentation is over, but in the interval, commencing from a few days after the bottling of the wine, a loose dark-brown sediment has been forming which has now settled on the lower side of the bottle, and to get rid of which is a delicate and tedious task. The bottles are placed sur pointe, as it is termed—that is to say, slantingly in racks with their necks downwards, the inclination being increased from time to time to one more abrupt. The object of this change in their position is to cause the sediment to leave the side of the bottle where it has gathered; it afterwards becomes necessary to twist and turn it, and coagulate it, as it were, until it forms a kind of muddy ball, and eventually to get it well down into the neck of the bottle, so that it may be finally expelled with a bang when the temporary cork is removed and the proper one adjusted. To accomplish this the bottles are sharply turned in one direction every day for at least a month or six weeks, the time being indefinitely extended until the sediment shows a disposition to settle near the cork. The younger the wine the longer the period necessary for the bottles to be shaken, new wine often requiring as much as three months. Only a thoroughly practised hand can give the right amount of revolution and the requisite degree of slope; and in some of the cellars that we visited men were pointed out to us who had acquired such dexterity as to be able at a pinch to shake with their two hands as many as 50,000 bottles in a single day.

Some of these men have spent thirty or forty years of their lives engaged in this perpetual task. Fancy being entombed all alone day after day in vaults which are invariably dark and gloomy, and often cold and dank, and being obliged to twist sixty to seventy of these bottles every minute throughout the day of twelve hours. Why the treadmill and the crank with their periodical respites must be pastime compared to this maddeningly monotonous occupation, which combines hard labour, with the wrist at any rate, with next to solitary confinement. One can understand these men becoming gloomy and taciturn, and affirming that they sometimes see devils hovering over the bottle-racks and frantically shaking the bottles beside them, or else grinning at them as they pursue their humdrum task. Still it may be taken for granted that the men who reach this stage are accustomed to drink freely of raw spirits, and merely pay the penalty resulting from over-indulgence.

In former times the bottles used to be placed with their heads downwards on tables pierced with holes, from which they had to be removed and agitated. In 1818, however, a man named Muller, in the employment of Madame Clicquot, suggested that the bottles should remain in the tables whilst being shaken, and further that the holes should be cut obliquely so that the bottles might recline at varying angles. His suggestions were privately adopted by Madame Clicquot, but eventually the improved plan got wind, and the system now prevails throughout the Champagne. When the bottles have gone through their regular course of shaking they are examined before a lighted candle to ascertain whether the deposit has fallen and the wine become perfectly clear. Sometimes it happens that, twist these men never so wisely, the deposit refuses to stir, and takes the shape of a bunch of thread technically called a "claw," or an adherent mass styled a "mask." When this is the case an attempt is made to start it by tapping the part to which it adheres with a piece of iron, the result being frequently the sudden explosion of the bottle. As a precaution, therefore, the workman protects his face with a wire-mask or gigantic wire spectacles, which give to him a ghoul-like aspect.

The cellars of the champagne manufacturers are very varied in character. The wine that has been grown on the chalky hills undergoes development in vaults burrowed out of the calcareous strata underlying the entire district. In excavating these cellars the sides and roofs are frequently worked smooth and regular as finished masonry. The larger ones are composed of a number of spacious and lofty galleries, sometimes parallel with each other, but often ramifying in various directions, and evidently constructed on no definite plan. They are of one, two, and, in rare instances, of three stories, and now and then consist of a series of parallel galleries communicating with each other, lined with masonry, and with their stone walls and vaulted roofs resembling the crypt of some conventual building. Others of ancient date are less regular in their form, being merely so many narrow low winding corridors, varied, perhaps, by recesses hewn roughly out of the chalk, and resembling the brigands' cave of the melodrama, while a certain number of the larger cellars at Reims are simply abandoned quarries, the broad and lofty arches of which are suggestive of the nave and aisles of some Gothic church. In these varied vaults, lighted by solitary lamps in front of metal reflectors, or by the flickering tallow candles which we carry in our hands, we pass rows of casks filled with last year's vintage or reserved wine of former years, and piles after piles of bottles of vin brut in seemingly endless sequence—squares, so to speak, of raw champagne recruits awaiting their turn to be thoroughly drilled and disciplined. These are varied by bottles reposing necks downwards in racks at different degrees of inclination according to the progress their education has attained. Reports caused by exploding bottles now and then assail the ear, and as the echo dies away it becomes mingled with the rush of the escaping wine, cascading down the pile and finding its way across the sloping sides of the floor to the narrow gutter in the centre. The dampness of the floor and the shattered fragments of glass strewn about show the frequency of this kind of accident. The spilt wine, which flows along the gutter into reservoirs, is usually thrown away, though there is a story current to the effect that the head of one Epernay firm cooks nearly everything consumed in his house in the fluid thus let loose in his cellars.

In these subterranean galleries we frequently come upon parties of workmen engaged in transforming the perfected vin brut into champagne. Viewed at a distance while occupied in their monotonous task, they present in the semi-obscurity a series of picturesque Rembrandt-like studies. One of the end figures in each group is engaged in the important process of dgorgement, which is performed when the deposit, of which we have already spoken, has satisfactorily settled in the neck of the bottle. Baskets full of bottles with their necks downwards are placed beside the operator, who stands before an apparatus resembling a cask divided vertically down the middle. This nimble-figured manipulator seizes a bottle, holds it for a moment before the light to test the clearness of the wine and the subsidence of the deposit; brings it, still neck downwards, over a small tub at the bottom of the apparatus already mentioned; and with a jerk of the steel hook which he holds in his right hand loosens the agrafe securing the cork, Bang goes the latter, and with it flies out the sediment and a small glassful or so of wine, further flow being checked by the workman's finger, which also serves to remove any sediment yet remaining in the bottle's neck. Like many other clever tricks, this looks very easy when adroitly performed, though a novice would probably empty the bottle by the time he had discovered that the cork was out. Occasionally a bottle bursts in the dgorgeur's hand, and his face is sometimes scarred from such explosions. The sediment removed, he slips a temporary cork into the bottle, and the wine is ready for the important operation of the dosage, upon the nature and amount of which the character of the perfected wine, whether it be dry or sweet, light or strong, very much depends.

Different manufacturers have different recipes, more or less complex in character, and varying with the quality of the wine and the country for which it is intended; but the genuine liqueur consists of nothing but old wine of the best quality, to which a certain amount of sugar-candy and perhaps a dash of the finest cognac spirit has been added. The saccharine addition varies according to the market for which the wine is destined: thus the high-class English buyer demands a dry champagne, the Russian a wine sweet and strong as "ladies' grog," and the Frenchman and German a sweet light wine. To the extra-dry champagnes a modicum dose is added, while the so-called "brut" wines receive no more than from one to three per cent. of liqueur.

In some establishments the dose is administered with a tin can or ladle; but more generally an ingenious machine of pure silver and glass which regulates the percentage of liqueur to a nicety is employed. The dosage accomplished, the bottle passes to another workman known as the galiseur, who fills it up with pure wine. Should a pink champagne be required, the wine thus added will be red, although manufacturers of questionable reputation sometimes employ the solution known as teinte de Fismes. The galiseur in turn hands the bottle to the corker, who places it under a machine furnished with a pair of claws, which compress the cork to a size sufficiently small to allow it to enter the neck of the bottle, and a suspended weight, which in falling drives it home. These corks, which are principally obtained from Catalonia and Andalucia, cost more than twopence each, and are delivered in huge sacks resembling hop-pockets. Before they are used they have been either boiled in wine, soaked in a solution of tartar, or else steamed by the cork merchants, both to prevent their imparting a bad flavour to the wine and to hinder any leakage. They are commonly handed warm to the corker, who dips them into a small vessel of wine before making use of them. Some firms, however, prepare their corks by subjecting them to cold water douches a day or two beforehand. The ficeleur receives the bottle from the corker, and with a twist of the fingers secures the cork with string, at the same time rounding its hitherto flat top. The metteur de fil next affixes the wire with like celerity; and then the final operation is performed by a workman seizing a couple of bottles by the neck and whirling them round his head, as though engaged in the Indian-club exercise, in order to secure a perfect amalgamation of the wine and the liqueur.

The final manipulation accomplished, the agitated course of existence through which the wine has been passing of late comes to an end, and the bottles are conveyed to another part of the establishment, where they repose for several days, or even weeks, in order that the mutual action of the wine and the liqueur upon each other may be complete. When the time arrives for despatching them they are confided to feminine hands to have their dainty toilettes made, and are tastefully labelled and either capsuled, or else have their corks and necks imbedded in sealing-wax, or swathed in gold or silver foil, whereby they are rendered presentable at the best-appointed tables.

Thus completed champagne sets out on its beneficial pilgrimage to promote the spread of mirth and lightheartedness, to drive away dull care and foment good-fellowship, to comfort the sick and cheer the sound. Wherever civilisation penetrates, champagne sooner or later is sure to follow; and if Queen Victoria's morning drum beats round the world, its beat is certain to be echoed before the day is over by the popping of champagne-corks. Now-a-days the exhilarating wine graces not merely princely but middle-class dinner-tables, and is the needful adjunct at every petit souper in all the gayer capitals of the world. It gives a flush to beauty at garden-parties and picnics, sustains the energies of the votaries of Terpsichore until the hour of dawn, and imparts to many a young gallant the necessary courage to declare his passion. It enlivens the dullest of runions, brings smiles to the lips of the sternest cynics, softens the most irascible tempers, and loosens the most taciturn tongues. The grim Berliner and the gay Viennese both acknowledge its enlivening influence. It sparkles in crystal goblets in the great capital of the North, and the Moslem wipes its creamy foam from his beard beneath the very shadow of the mosque of St. Sophia; for the Prophet has only forbidden the use of wine, and of a surety—Allah be praised!—this strangely-sparkling delicious liquor, which gives to the true believer a foretaste of the joys of Paradise, cannot be wine. At the diamond-fields of South Africa and the diggings of Australia the brawny miner who has hit upon a big bit of crystallised carbon, or a nugget of virgin ore, strolls to the "saloon" and shouts for champagne. The mild Hindoo imbibes it quietly, but approvingly, as he watches the evolutions of the Nautch girls, and his partiality for it has already enriched the Anglo-Bengalee vocabulary and London slang with the word "simkin." It is transported on camel-backs across the deserts of Central Asia, and in frail canoes up the mighty Amazon. The two-sworded Daimio calls for it in the tea-gardens of Yokohama, and the New Yorker, when not rinsing his stomach by libations of iced-water, imbibes it freely at Delmonico's. Wherever civilised man has set his foot—at the base of the Pyramids and at the summit of the Cordilleras, in the mangrove swamps of Ashantee and the gulches of the Great Lone Land, in the wilds of the Amoor and on the desert isles of the Pacific—he has left traces of his presence in the shape of the empty bottles that were once full of the sparkling vintage of the Champagne.


Messrs. Werl and Co., successors to the Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin— Their Offices and Cellars on the site of a Former Commanderie of the Templars— Origin of the Celebrity of Madame Clicquot's Wines— M. Werl and his Son— The Forty-five Cellars of the Clicquot-Werl Establishment— Our Tour of Inspection— Ingenious Liqueuring Machine— An Explosion and its Consequences— M. Werl's Gallery of Paintings— Madame Clicquot's Renaissance House and its Picturesque Bas-reliefs— The Werl Vineyards and Vendangeoirs— M. Louis Roederer's Establishment— Heidsieck and Co. and their Famous "Monopole" Brand— The Firm Founded in the Last Century— Their various Establishments Inside and Outside Reims— The Matured Wines Shipped by them.

The cellars of the great champagne manufacturers of Reims are scattered in all directions over the historical old city. They undermine its narrowest and most insignificant streets, its broad and handsome boulevards, and on the eastern side extend to its more distant outskirts. Messrs. Werl and Co., the successors of the famous Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin, have their offices and cellars on the site of a former Commanderie of the Templars in an ancient quarter of the city, and strangers passing by the spot would scarcely imagine that under their feet hundreds of busy hands are incessantly at work, disgorging, dosing, shaking, corking, storing, wiring, labelling, capsuling, waxing, tinfoiling, and packing hundreds of thousands of bottles of champagne destined for all parts of the civilised world.

The house of Clicquot, established in the year 1798 by the husband of La Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin, who died in 1866, in her 89th year, was indebted for much of the celebrity of its wine to the lucky accident of the Russians occupying Reims in 1814 and 1815, and freely requisitioning the sweet champagne stored in the widow's capacious cellars. Madame Clicquot's wines were slightly known in Russia prior to this date, but the officers of the invading army, on their return home, proclaimed their merits throughout the length and breadth of the Muscovite Empire, and the fortune of the house was made. Madame Clicquot, as every one knows, amassed enormous wealth, and succeeded in marrying both her daughter and granddaughter to counts of the ancien rgime.

The present head of the firm is M. Werl, who comes of an old Lorraine family although born in the ancient free imperial town of Wetzlar on the Lahn, where Goethe lays the scene of his "Sorrows of Werther," the leading incidents of which really occurred here. M. Werl entered the establishment, which he has done so much to raise to its existing position, so far back as the year 1821. His care and skill, exercised over more than half a century, have largely contributed to obtain for the Clicquot brand that high repute which it enjoys to-day all over the world. M. Werl, who has long been naturalised in France, was for many years Mayor of Reims and President of its Chamber of Commerce, as well as one of the deputies of the Marne to the Corps Lgislatif. He enjoys the reputation of being the richest man in Reims, and, like his late partner, Madame Clicquot, he has also succeeded in securing brilliant alliances for his children, his son, M. Alfred Werl, having married the daughter of the Duc de Montebello, while his daughter espoused the son of M. Magne, Minister of Finance under the Second Empire.

Half-way down the narrow tortuous Rue du Temple is an ancient gateway, on which may be traced the half-effaced sculptured heads of Phoebus and Bacchus. Immediately in front is a green porte-cochre forming the entrance to the Clicquot-Werl establishment, and conducting to a spacious trim-kept courtyard, set off with a few trees, with some extensive stabling and cart-sheds on the left, and on the right hand the entrance to the cellars. Facing us is an unpretending-looking edifice, where the firm has its counting-houses, with a little corner tower surmounted by a characteristic weathercock consisting of a figure of Bacchus seated astride a cask beneath a vine-branch, and holding up a bottle in one hand and a goblet in the other. The old Remish Commanderie of the Knights Templars existed until the epoch of the Great Revolution, and to-day a few fragments of the ancient buildings remain adjacent to the "celliers" of the establishment, which are reached through a pair of folding-doors and down a flight of stone steps, and whence, after being furnished with lighted candles, we set out on our tour of inspection, entering first of all the vast cellar of St. Paul, where the thousands of bottles requiring to be daily shaken are reposing necks downwards on the large perforated tables which crowd the apartment. It is a peculiarity of the Clicquot-Werl establishment that each of the cellars—forty-five in number, and the smallest a vast apartment—has its special name. In the adjoining cellar of St. Matthew other bottles are similarly arranged, and here wine in cask is likewise stored. We pass rows of huge tuns, each holding its twelve or thirteen hundred gallons of fine reserved wine designed for blending with more youthful growths; next are threading our way between seemingly endless piles of hogsheads filled with later vintages, and anon are passing smaller casks containing the syrup with which the vin prpar is dosed. At intervals we come upon some square opening in the floor through which bottles of wine are being hauled up from the cellars beneath in readiness to receive their requisite adornment before being packed in baskets or cases according to the country to which they are destined to be despatched. To Russia the Clicquot champagne is sent in cases containing sixty bottles, while the cases for China contain as many as double that number.

The ample cellarage which the house possesses has enabled M. Werl to make many experiments which firms with less space at their command would find it difficult to carry out on the same satisfactory scale. Such, for instance, is the system of racks in which the bottles repose while the wine undergoes its diurnal shaking. Instead of these racks being, as they commonly are, at almost upright angles, they are perfectly horizontal, which, in M. Werl's opinion, offers a material advantage, inasmuch as the bottles are all in readiness for disgorging at the same time instead of the lower ones being ready before those above, as is the case when the ancient system is followed, owing to the uppermost bottles getting less shaken than the others.

After performing the round of the celliers we descend into the caves, a complete labyrinth of gloomy underground corridors excavated in the bed of chalk which underlies the city, and roofed and walled with solid masonry, more or less blackened by age. In one of these cellars we catch sight of rows of work-people engaged in the operation of dosing, corking, securing, and shaking the bottles of wine which have just left the hands of the dgorgeur by the dim light of half-a-dozen tallow candles. The latest invention for liqueuring the wine is being employed. Formerly, to prevent the carbonic acid gas escaping from the bottles while the process of liqueuring was going on, it was necessary to press a gutta-percha ball connected with the machine, in order to force the escaping gas back. The new machine, however, renders this unnecessary, the gas by its own power and composition forcing itself back into the wine.

In the adjoining cellar of St. Charles are stacks of bottles awaiting the manipulation of the dgorgeur, while in that of St. Ferdinand men are engaged in examining other bottles before lighted candles to make certain that the sediment is thoroughly dislodged and the wine perfectly clear before the disgorgement is effected. Here, too, the corking, wiring, and stringing of the newly-disgorged wine are going on. Another flight of steps leads to the second tier of cellars, where the moisture trickles down the dank dingy walls, and save the dim light thrown out by the candles we carried, and by some other far-off flickering taper stuck in a cleft stick to direct the workmen, who with dexterous turns of their wrists give a twist to the bottles, all is darkness. On every side bottles are reposing in various attitudes, the majority in huge square piles on their sides, others in racks slightly tilted, others, again, almost standing on their heads, while some, which through over-inflation have come to grief, litter the floor and crunch beneath our feet. Tablets are hung against each stack of wine indicating its age, and from time to time a bottle is held up before the light to show us how the sediment commences to form, or explain how it eventually works its way down the neck of the bottle, and finally settles on the cork. Suddenly we are startled by a loud report resembling a pistol-shot, which reverberates through the vaulted chamber, as a bottle close at hand explodes, dashing out its heavy bottom as neatly as though it had been cut by a diamond, and dislocating the necks and pounding in the sides of its immediate neighbours. The wine trickles down, and eventually finds its way along the sloping sides of the slippery floor to the narrow gutter in the centre.

Ventilating shafts pass from one tier of cellars to the other, enabling the temperature in a certain measure to be regulated, and thereby obviate an excess of breakage. M. Werl estimates that the loss in this respect during the first eighteen months of a cuve amounts to 7 per cent., but subsequently is considerably less. In 1862 one champagne manufacturer lost as much as 45 per cent. of his wine by breakages. The Clicquot cuve is made in the cave of St. William, where 120 hogsheads of wine are hauled up by means of a crane and discharged into the vat daily as long as the operation lasts. The tirage or bottling of the wine ordinarily commences in the middle of May, and occupies fully a month.

M. Werl's private residence is close to the establishment in the Rue du Temple, and here he has collected a small gallery of high-class modern paintings by French and other artists, including Meissonnier's "Card-players," Delaroche's "Beatrice Cenci on her way to Execution," Fleury's "Charles V. picking up the brush of Titian," various works by the brothers Scheffer, Knaus's highly-characteristic genre picture, "His Highness on a Journey," and several fine portraits, among which is one of Madame Clicquot, painted by Lon Coignet, when she was eighty years of age, and another of M. Werl by the same artist, regarded as a chef-d'oeuvre. Before her father's death Madame Clicquot used to reside in the Rue de Marc, some short distance from the cellars in which her whole existence centered, in a handsome Renaissance house, said to have had some connection with the row of palaces that at one time lined the neighbouring and then fashionable Rue du Tambour. This, however, is extremely doubtful. A number of interesting and well-preserved bas-reliefs decorate one of the faades of the house looking on to the court. The figures are of the period of Franois Premier and his son Henri II., who inaugurated his reign with a comforting edict for the Protestants, ordaining that blasphemers were to have their tongues pierced with red-hot irons, and heretics to be burnt alive, and who had the ill-luck to lose his eye and life through a lance-thrust of the Comte de Montgomerie, captain of his Scotch guards, whilst jousting with him at a tournament held in honour of the marriage of his daughter Isabelle with the gloomy widower of Queen Mary of England, of sanguinary fame.

The first of these bas-reliefs represents two soldiers of the Swiss guard, the next a Turk and a Slav tilting at each other, and then comes a scroll entwined round a thistle, and inscribed with this enigmatical motto: "Giane le sur ou rien." In the third bas-relief a couple of passionate Italians are winding up a gambling dispute with a hand-to-hand combat, in the course of which table, cards, and dice have got cantered over; the fourth presenting us with two French knights, armed cap—pie, engaged in a tourney; while in the fifth and last a couple of German lansquenets essay their gladiatorial skill with their long and dangerous weapons. Several years back a tablet was discovered in one of the cellars of the house, inscribed "Ci-gist vnrable religieux mastre Pierre Dercl, docteur en thologie, jadis prieur de cans. Priez Dieu pour luy. 1486," which would almost indicate that the house had originally a religious character, although the warlike spirit of the bas-reliefs decorating it renders any such supposition with regard to the existing building untenable.

The Messrs. Werl own numerous acres of vineyards, comprising the very finest situations in the well-known districts of Verzenay, Bouzy, Le Mesnil, and Oger, at all of which places they have vendangeoirs or pressing-houses of their own. Their establishment at Verzenay contains seven presses, that at Bouzy eight, at Le Mesnil six, and at Oger two, in addition to which grapes are pressed under their own supervision at Ay, Avize, and Cramant in vendangeoirs belonging to their friends.

Since the death of Madame Clicquot the legal style of the firm has been Werl and Co., successors to Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin, the mark, of which M. Werl and his son are the sole proprietors, still remaining "Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin," while the corks of the bottles are branded with the words "V. Clicquot-P. Werl," encircling the figure of a comet. The style of the wine—light, delicate, elegant, and fragrant—is familiar to all connoisseurs of champagne. What, however, is not equally well known is that within the last few years the firm, in obedience to the prevailing taste, have introduced a perfectly dry wine of corresponding quality to the richer wine which made the fortune of the house.

The house of M. Louis Roederer, founded by a plodding German named Schreider, pursued the sleepy tenor of its way for years, until all at once it felt prompted to lay siege to the Muscovite connection of La Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin and secure a market for its wine at Moscow and St. Petersburg. It next opened up the United States, and finally introduced its brand into England. The house possesses cellars in various parts of Reims, and has its offices in one of the oldest quarters of the city—namely, the Rue des lus, or ancient Rue des Juifs, records of which date as far back as 1103. These offices are at the farther end of a courtyard beyond which is a second court, where carts being laden with cases of champagne seemed to indicate that some portion of the shipping business of the house is here carried on. M. Louis Roederer refused our request for permission to visit his establishments, so that it is only of their external appearance that we are able to speak. One of them—the faade of which is rather imposing, and which has a carved head of Bacchus surmounting the porte-cochre—is situated in the Boulevard du Temple, while the principal establishment, a picturesque range of buildings of considerable extent, is in the neighbouring Rue de la Justice.

The old-established firm of Heidsieck and Co., which has secured a reputation in both hemispheres for its famous Monopole and Dry Monopole brands, has its cellars scattered about Reims, the central ones, where the wine is prepared and packed, being situated in the narrow winding Rue Sedan, at no great distance from the Clicquot-Werl establishment. The original firm dates back to 1785, when France was struggling with those financial difficulties that a few years later culminated in that great social upheaving which kept Europe in a state of turmoil for more than a quarter of a century. Among the archives of the firm is a patent, bearing the signature of the Minister of the Prussian Royal Household, appointing Heidsieck and Co. purveyors of champagne to Friedrich William III. The champagne-drinking Hohenzollern par excellence, however, was the son and successor of the preceding, who, from habitual over-indulgence in the exhilarating sparkling beverage during the last few years of his reign, acquired the sobriquet of King Clicquot.

On passing through the large porte-cochre giving entrance to Messrs. Heidsieck's principal establishment, one finds oneself in a small courtyard with the surrounding buildings overgrown with ivy and venerable vines. On the left is a dwelling-house enriched with elaborate mouldings and cornices, and at the farther end of the court is the entrance to the cellars, surmounted by a sun-dial bearing the date 1829. The latter, however, is no criterion of the age of the buildings themselves, as these were occupied by the firm at its foundation, towards the close of the last century. We are first conducted into an antiquated-looking low cellier, the roof of which is sustained with rude timber supports, and here bottles of wine are being labelled and packed, although this is but a mere adjunct to the adjacent spacious packing-room provided with its loading platform and communicating directly with the public road. At the time of our visit this hall was gaily decorated with flags and inscriptions, the day before having been the fte of St. Jean, when the firm entertain the people in their employ with a banquet and a ball, at which the choicest wine of the house liberally flows. From the packing-room we descend into the cellars, which, like all the more ancient vaults in Reims, have been constructed on no regular plan. Here we thread our way between piles after piles of bottles, many of which having passed through the hands of the disgorger are awaiting their customary adornment. The lower tier of cellars is mostly stored with vin sur pointe, and bottles with their necks downwards are encountered in endless monotony along a score or more of long galleries. The only variation in our lengthened promenade is when we come upon some solitary workman engaged in his monotonous task of shaking his 30,000 or 40,000 bottles per diem.

The disgorging at Messrs. Heidsieck's takes place, in accordance with the good old rule, in the cellars underground, where we noticed large stocks of wine three and five years old, the former in the first stage of sur-pointe, and the latter awaiting shipment. It is a speciality of the house to ship only matured wine, which is necessarily of a higher character than the ordinary youthful growths, for a few years have a wonderful influence in developing the finer qualities of champagne. At the time of our visit, in the spring of 1877, when the English market was being glutted with the crude, full-bodied wine of 1874, Messrs. Heidsieck were continuing to ship wines of 1870 and 1872, beautifully rounded by keeping and of fine flavour and great delicacy of perfume, and of which the firm estimated they had fully a year's consumption still on hand.

Messrs. Heidsieck and Co. have a handsome modern establishment in the Rue Coquebert—a comparatively new quarter of the city where champagne establishments are the rule—the courtyard of which, alive with workmen at the time of our visit, is broad and spacious, while the surrounding buildings are light and airy, and the cellars lofty, regular, and well ventilated. In a large cellier here, where the tuns are ranged side by side between the rows of iron columns supporting the roof, the firm make their cuve; here too the bottling of their wine takes place, and considerable stocks of high-class reserve wines and more youthful growths are stored ready for removal when required by the central establishment. The bulk of Messrs. Heidsieck's reserve wines, however, repose in the outskirts of Reims, near the Porte Dieu-Lumire, in one of the numerous abandoned chalk quarries, which of late years the champagne manufacturers have discovered are capable of being transformed into admirable cellars.

In addition to shipping a rich and a dry variety of the Monopole brand, of which they are sole proprietors, Messrs. Heidsieck export to this country a rich and a dry Grand Vin Royal. It is, however, to their famous Monopole wine, and especially to the dry variety, which must necessarily comprise the finest growths, that the firm owe their principal celebrity.


The Firm of G. H. Mumm and Co.— Their Large Shipments to the United States— Their Establishments in the Rue Andrieux and the Rue Coquebert— Bottle-Washing with Glass Beads— The Cuve and the Tirage— G. H. Mumm and Co.'s Vendangeoirs at Verzenay— Their Various Wines— The Gate of Mars— The Establishment of M. Gustave Gibert on the Site of the Chteau des Archevques— His Cellars in the Vaults of St. Peter's Abbey and beneath the old Htel des Fermes in the Place Royale— Louis XV. and Jean Baptiste Colbert— M. Gibert's Wines— Jules Mumm and Co., and Ruinart pre et fils— House of the Musicians— The Counts de la Marck— The Brotherhood of Minstrels of Reims— Establishment of Prinet et fils— Their Cellars of Three Stories in Solid Masonry— Their Soft, Light, and Delicate Wines— A Rare Still Verzenay— M. Duchtel-Ohaus's Establishment and Renaissance House— His Cellars in the Cour St. Jacques and Outside the Porte Dieu-Lumire.

Messrs. G. H. Mumm and Co. have their chief establishment in the Rue Andrieux, in an open quarter of the city, facing the garden attached to the premises of M. Werl, and only a short distance from the grand triumphal arch known as the Gate of Mars, by far the most important Roman remain of which the Champagne can boast. The head of the firm, Mr. G. H. Mumm, is the grandson of the well-known P. A. Mumm, the large shipper of hocks and moselles, and is the only surviving partner in the champagne house of Mumm and Co., established at Reims in 1825, and joined by Mr. G. H. Mumm so far back as the year 1838. The firm not only ship their wine largely to England, but head the list of shipments to the United States, where their brand is held in high repute, with nearly half a million bottles, being more than twice the quantity shipped by M. Louis Roederer—who comes third on the list in question—and a fourth of the entire shipments of champagne to the United States.

The establishment of Messrs. G. H. Mumm and Co., in the Rue Andrieux, is of comparatively modern construction. A large porte-cochre conducts to a spacious courtyard, bordered with sheds, beneath which huge stacks of new bottles are piled and having a pleasant garden lying beyond. On the left is a large vaulted cellier, where the operations of disgorging, liqueuring, and corking the wine are performed, and which communicates with the vast adjoining packing department. From this cellier entrance is gained to the cellars beneath, containing a million bottles of vin brut in various stages of development. This forms, however, merely a portion of the firm's stock, they having another three millions of bottles stored in the cellars of their establishment in the Rue Coquebert, where a scene of great animation presented itself at the time of our visit, several scores of women being engaged in washing bottles for the tirage, which, although it was early in May, had already commenced. The bottles, filled with water, and containing a certain quantity of glass beads in lieu of the customary shot, which frequently leave minute particles of lead—deleterious alike to health and the flavour of the wine—adhering to the inside surface of the glass, are placed horizontally in a frame, and by means of four turns of a handle are made to perform sixty-four rapid revolutions. The beads are then transferred to other bottles, which are subjected in their turn to the same revolving process.

The cuve, commonly composed of from two to three thousand casks of wine from various vineyards, with a due proportion of high-class vintages, is made in a vat holding 4,400 gallons. The tirage or bottling is effected by means of two large tuns placed side by side, and holding twelve hogsheads of wine each. Pipes from these tuns communicate with a couple of small reservoirs, each of them provided with half-a-dozen self-acting syphon taps, by means of which a like number of bottles are simultaneously filled. Only one set of these taps are set running at a time, as while the wine is being drawn off from one tun the other is being refilled from the casks containing the cuve by means of a pump and leathern hose, which empties a cask in little more than a couple of minutes. Three gangs of eight men each can fill, cork, and secure with agrafes from 35,000 to 40,000 bottles during the day. The labour is performed partly by men regularly employed by the house and partly by hands engaged for the purpose, who work, however, under the constant inspection of overseers appointed by the firm.

At Messrs. G. H. Mumm's the champagne destined for shipment has the heads of the corks submerged in a kind of varnish, with the object of protecting them from the ravages of insects, and preventing the string and wire from becoming mouldy for several years. In damp weather, when this varnish takes a long time to dry, after the bottles have been placed in a rack with their heads downwards to allow of any superfluous varnish draining from the corks, the latter are subjected to a moderate heat in a machine pierced with sufficient holes to contain 500 bottles, and provided with a warming apparatus in the centre. Here the bottles remain for about twenty minutes.

Messrs. G. H. Mumm and Co. have a capacious vendangeoir at Verzenay, near the entrance to the village when approaching it from Reims. The building contains four presses, three of which are worked with large fly-wheels requiring several men to turn them, while the fourth acts with a screw applied by means of a long pole. At the vintage 3,600 kilogrammes, or nearly 8,000lbs., of grapes are put under each press, a quantity sufficient to yield eight to ten hogsheads of wine of forty-four gallons each, suitable for sparkling wine, besides three or four hogsheads of inferior wine given to the workmen to drink. The pressing commences daily at six in the morning, and lasts until midnight; yet the firm are often constrained to keep their grapes in the baskets under a cool shed for a period of two days. This cannot, however, be done when they are very ripe, as the colouring matter from the skins would become extracted and give a dark and objectionable tint to the wine.

Messrs. G. H. Mumm and Co. ship four descriptions of champagne—Carte Blanche, a pale, delicate, fragrant wine of great softness and refined flavour; a perfectly dry variety of the foregoing, known as their Extra Dry; also an Extra Quality and a First Quality—both high-class wines, though somewhat lower in price than the two preceding.

Within a few minutes' walk of Messrs. G. H. Mumm's—past the imposing Gate of Mars, in the midst of lawns, parterres, and gravel-walks, where coquettish nursemaids and their charges stroll, accompanied by the proverbial piou-piou—is the principal establishment of M. Gustave Gibert, whose house claims to-day half a century of existence. On this spot formerly stood the feudal castle of the Archbishops of Reims, demolished nearly three centuries ago. By whom this stronghold was erected is somewhat uncertain. The local chronicles state that a chteau was built at Reims by Suelf, son of Hincmar, in 922, and restored by Archbishop Henri de France two and a half centuries later. War or other causes, however, seems to have rendered the speedy rebuilding of this castle necessary, as a new Chteau des Archevques appears to have been erected at Reims by Henri de Braine between 1228 and 1230. The circumstance of the Archbishops of Reims being dukes and peers as well as primates of the capital of the Champagne accounts for their preference for a fortified place of residence at this turbulent epoch.

On the investiture of a new archbishop it was the custom for him to proceed in great pomp from the chteau to the church of Saint Remi, with a large armed guard and a splendid retinue of ecclesiastical, civil, and military dignitaries escorting him. The pride of the newly-created "duke and peer" having been thus gratified, the "prelate" had to humble himself, and on the morrow walked barefooted from the church of St. Remi to the cathedral. After the religious wars the chteau was surrendered to Henri IV., and in 1595 the Remois, anxious to be rid of so formidable a fortress, which, whether held by king or archbishop, was calculated to enforce a state of passive obedience galling to their pride, purchased from the king the privilege to demolish it for the sum of 8,000 crowns. Tradition asserts that the Remish Bastille was destroyed in a single day, but this is exceedingly improbable. Its ruins certainly were not cleared away until the close of the century.

When the old fortress was razed to the ground its extensive vaults were not interfered with, but many long years afterwards were transformed into admirable cellars for the storage of champagne. Above them are two stories of capacious celliers where the wine is blended, bottled, and packed, the vaults themselves comprising two tiers of cellars which contain wine both in cask and bottle. M. Gibert's remaining stocks are stored in the ancient vaults of the abbey of St. Peter, in the heart of the city, and in the roomy cellars which underlie the old Htel des Fermes in the Place Royale, where in the days of the ancien rgime the farmers-general of the province used to receive its revenues. On the pediment of this edifice is a bas-relief with Mercury, the god of commerce, seated beside a nymph and surrounded by children engaged with the vintage and with bales of wool, and evidently intended to symbolise the staple trades of the capital of the Champagne. A bronze statue rises in the centre of the Place which from its Roman costume and martial bearing might be taken for some hero of antiquity did not the inscription on the pedestal apprise us that it is intended for the "wise, virtuous, and magnanimous Louis XV.," a misuse of terms which has caused a transatlantic Republican to characterise the monument as a brazen lie. Leading out of the Place Royale is the Rue de Crs, in which there is a modernised 16th-century house claiming to be the birthplace of Jean Baptiste Colbert, son of a Reims wool-merchant, and the famous minister who did so much to consolidate the finances which the royal voluptuary, masquerading at Reims in Roman garb, afterwards made such dreadful havoc of.

M. Gustave Gibert possesses pressing-houses at Ay and Bouzy, and has moreover at both these places accommodation for large reserve stocks of wine in wood. As all the wines which he sends into the market are vintaged by himself, he can ensure their being of uniform high quality. His Vin du Roi is notable for perfume, delicacy, perfect effervescence, and that fine flavour of the grape which characterises the grand wines of the Champagne. It is a great favourite with the King of Sweden and Norway, and the labels on the bottles bear his name and arms. M. Gibert's brand has acquired a high reputation in the North of Europe, and having of late years been introduced into England, is rapidly making its way there. The merits of the wines have been again and again publicly recognised, no less than ten medals having been successively awarded M. Gibert at the Exhibitions of Toulouse in 1858, Bordeaux in 1859, Besanon in 1860, Metz and Nantes in 1861, London in 1862, Bayonne and Linz in 1864, and Oporto and Dublin in 1865. This long list of awards has led to the wines being placed "hors concours," nevertheless M. Gibert continues to submit them to competition whenever any Exhibition of importance takes place. The wines are shipped to England, Germany, Russia, and Northern Europe, Spain and Portugal, Calcutta, Java, Melbourne, and Hong-Kong, besides being largely in request for the Paris market.

On quitting M. Gibert's central establishment we proceed along the winding, ill-paved Rue de Mars, past the premises of Messrs. Jules Mumm and Co., an offshoot from the once famous firm of P. A. Mumm and Co., to the Place de l'Htel de Ville, in one corner of which stands a massive and somewhat pretentious-looking house, dating back to the time of Louis Quatorze. Here are the offices of Ruinart pre et fils, who claim to rank as the oldest existing house in the Champagne. The head of the firm, the Vicomte de Brimont, is a collateral descendant of the Dom Ruinart, whose remains repose nigh to those of the illustrious Dom Perignon in the abbey church of Hautvillers. From the Place de l'Htel de Ville we proceed through the narrow Rue du Tambour, originally a Roman thoroughfare, and during the Middle Ages the locality where the nobility of Reims principally had their abodes. Half-way up this street, in the direction of the Place des Marchs, stands the famous House of the Musicians, one of the most interesting architectural relics of which the capital of the Champagne can boast. It evidently dates from the early part of the fourteenth century, but by whom it was erected is unknown. Some ascribe it to the Knights Templars, others to the Counts of Champagne, while others suppose it to have been the residence of the famous Counts de la Marck, who in later times diverged into three separate branches, the first furnishing Dukes of Cleves and Julich to Germany and Dukes of Nevers and Counts of Eu to France, while the second became Dukes of Bouillon and Princes of Sedan, titles which passed to the Turennes when Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne, married the surviving heiress of the house. The third branch comprised the Barons of Lumain, allied to the Hohenzollerns. Their most famous member slew Louis de Bourbon, Archbishop of Lige, and flung his body into the Meuse, and subsequently became celebrated as the Wild Boar of the Ardennes, of whom all readers of Quentin Durward will retain a lively recollection.

To return, however, to the House of the Musicians. A probable conjecture ascribes the origin of the quaint medival structure to the Brotherhood of Minstrels of Reims, who in the thirteenth century enjoyed a considerable reputation, not merely in the Champagne, but throughout the North of France. The house takes its present name from five seated statues of musicians, larger than life-size, occupying the Gothic niches between the first-floor windows, and resting upon brackets ornamented with grotesque heads. It is thought that the partially-damaged figure on the left-hand side was originally playing a drum and a species of clarionet. The next one evidently has the remnants of a harp in his raised hands. The third or central figure is supposed merely to have held a hawk upon his wrist; whilst the fourth seeks to extract harmony from a dilapidated bagpipe; and the fifth, with crossed legs, strums complacently away upon the fiddle. The ground floor of the quaint old tenement is to-day an oil and colour shop, the front of which is covered with chequers in all the tints of the rainbow.

Leading from the Rue du Tambour is the Rue de la Belle Image, thus named from a handsome statuette of the Virgin which formerly decorated a corner niche; and beyond is the Rue St. Hilaire, where Messrs. Barnett et fils, trading under the designation of Prinet et fils, and the only English house engaged in the manufacture of champagne, have an establishment which is certainly as perfect as any to be found in Reims. Aboveground are several large store-rooms, where vintage casks and the various utensils common to a champagne establishment are kept, and a capacious cellier, upwards of 150 feet in length, with its roof resting on huge timber supports. Here new wine is stored preparatory to being blended and bottled, and in the huge tun, holding nearly 3,000 gallons, standing at the further end, the firm make their cuve, while adjacent is a room where stocks of corks and labels, metal foil, and the like are kept.

There are three stories of cellars—an exceedingly rare thing anywhere in the Champagne—all constructed in solid masonry on a uniform plan—namely, two wide galleries running parallel with each other and connected by means of transverse passages. Spite of the great depth to which these cellars descend they are perfectly dry; the ventilation, too, is excellent, and their different temperatures render them especially suitable for the storage of champagne, the temperature of the lowest cellar being 6 Centigrade (43 Fahrenheit), or one degree Centigrade below the cellar immediately above, which, in its turn is two degrees below the uppermost one of all. The advantage of this is that when the wine develops an excess of effervescence any undue proportion of breakages can be checked by removing the bottles to a lower cellar and consequently into a lower temperature.

The first cellars we enter are closely stacked with wine in bottle, which is gradually clearing itself by the formation of a deposit, while in an adjoining cellar on the same level the operations of disgorging, liqueuring, and corking are going on. In the cellars immediately beneath bottles of wine repose in solid stacks ready for the dgorgeur, while others rest in racks in order that they may undergo their daily shaking. In the lowest cellars reserved wine in cask is stored, as it best retains its natural freshness and purity in a very cool place. All air is carefully excluded from the casks, any ullage is immediately checked, and as evaporation is continually going on the casks are examined every fortnight, when any deficiency is at once replenished. At Messrs. Prinet et fils', as at all the first-class establishments, the vin brut is a mlange comprising the produce of some of the best vineyards, and has every possible attention paid to it during its progressive stages of development.

Champagnes of different years were here shown to us, all of them soft, light, and delicate, and with that fine flavour and full perfume which the best growths of the Marne alone exhibit. Among several curiosities submitted to us was a still Verzenay of the year 1857, one of the most delicate red wines it was ever our fortune to taste. Light in body, rich in colour, of a singularly novel and refined flavour, and with a magnificent yet indefinable bouquet, the wine was in every respect perfect. Not only was the year of the vintage a grand one, but the wine must have been made with the greatest possible care and from the most perfect grapes for so delicate a growth to have retained its flavour in such perfection, and preserved its brilliant ruby colour for such a length of time.

From the samples shown to us of Prinet et fils' champagne, we were prepared to find that at some recent tastings in London, the particulars of which have been made public, their Extra Sec took the first place at each of the three severe competitions to which it was subjected.

M. Duchtel-Ohaus's central establishment is in the Rue des Deux Anges, one of the most ancient streets of Reims, running from the Rue des lus to the Rue de Vesle, and having every window secured by iron gratings, and every door thickly studded with huge nails. These prison-like faades succeed each other in gloomy monotony along either side of the way, the portion of M. Duchtel-Ohaus's residence which faces the street being no exception to the general rule. Once within its court, however, and quite a different scene presents itself. Before us is a pleasant little flower-garden with a small but charming Renaissance house looking on to it, the windows ornamented with elaborate mouldings, and surmounted by graceful sculptured heads, while at one corner rises a tower with a sun-dial displayed on its front. Here and in an adjoining house the canons of the Cathedral were accustomed to reside in the days when four-fifths of Reims belonged to the Church.

From the garden we enter a capacious cellier where the blending and bottling of the wine takes place, and in the neighbouring packing-room encounter a score of workpeople filling, securing, and branding a number of cases about to be despatched by rail. From the cellier we pass to the cellars situated immediately underneath, and which, capacious though they are, do not suffice for M. Duchtel's stock, portions of which are stored in some ancient vaults near the market-place, and in the Rue de Vesle behind the church of St. Jacques. This church, originally built at the close of the twelfth century, is hemmed in on all sides by old houses, above which rises its tapering steeple surmounted by a medieval weathercock in the form of an angel. A life-size statue of the patron saint decorates the Gothic gateway leading to the church, from which a troop of Remish urchins in the charge of some Frres de la Doctrine Chrtienne emerge as we pass by.

The Cour St. Jacques, where M. Duchtel's cellars are situated, may be reached by passing through the church, the interior of which presents a curious jumble of architectural styles from early Gothic to late Renaissance. One noteworthy object of art which it contains is a life-size crucifix carved by Pierre Jacques, a Remish sculptor of the days of the Good King Henri, and from an anatomical point of view a perfect chef-d'oeuvre. The cellars we have come to inspect are two stories deep, and comprise numerous ancient cavernous compartments, such as are found in all the older quarters of Reims, and usually in the vicinity of some church, convent, or clerical abode. It has been suggested that they were either crypts for sacred retirement and prayer, dungeons for the punishment of recreant brethren, or tombs for the dead; but it is far more probable that in the majority of instances they served then as now simply for the storage of the choice vintages of the Marne, for we all know the monks of old were tipplers of no ordinary capacity, who usually contrived to secure the best that the district provided. These vaults of M. Duchtel's, in which a considerable stock of the fine wine of 1874 is stored, are from two to three centuries old, and probably belonged to the curs of St. Jacques. They are of considerable extent, are well ventilated, and are walled and roofed with stone. M. Duchtel's remaining stock reposes in some new cellars—certain transformed chalk quarries outside the Porte Dieu-Lumire, comprising broad lofty galleries and vast circular chambers—fifty feet or so in height and well lighted from above.

At M. Duchtel-Ohaus's we tasted a variety of fine samples of his brand, including a beautiful wine of 1868 and an almost equally good one of 1870, with some of the excellent vintage of 1874, which was then being prepared for shipment.


M. Ernest Irroy's Cellars, Vineyards, and Vendangeoirs— Recognition by the Reims Agricultural Association of his Plantations of Vines— His Wines and their Popularity at the best London Clubs— Messrs. Binet fils and Co.'s Establishment— Wines Sold by the Firm to Shippers— Their Cellars— Samples of Fine Still Ay and Bouzy— Their Still Sillery, Vintage 1857, and their Creaming Vin Brut, Vintage 1865— The Offices and Cellars of Messrs. Charles Farre and Co.— Testing the Wine before Bottling— A Promenade between Bottles in Piles and Racks— Repute in which these Wines are held in England and on the Continent— The New Establishment of Fisse, Thirion, and Co. in the Place de Betheny— Its Construction exclusively in Stone, Brick, and Iron— The Vast Celliers of Two Stories— Bottling the Wine by the Aid of Machinery— The Cool and Lofty Cellars— Ingenious Method of Securing the Corks, rendering the Uncorking exceedingly simple— The Wines Shipped by the Firm.

Few large manufacturing towns like Reims—one of the most important of those engaged in the woollen manufacture in France—can boast of such fine promenades and such handsome boulevards as the capital of the Champagne. As the ancient fortifications of the city were from time to time razed, their site was levelled and generally planted with trees, so that the older quarters of Reims are almost encircled by broad and handsome thoroughfares, separating the city, as it were, from its outlying suburbs. In or close to the broad Boulevard du Temple, which takes its name from its proximity to the site of the ancient Commanderie of the Templars, various champagne manufacturers, including M. Louis Roederer, M. Ernest Irroy, and M. Charles Heidsieck, have their establishments, while but a few paces off, in the neighbouring Rue Coquebert, are the large and handsome premises of Messrs. Krug and Co.

The offices of M. Ernest Irroy, who is known in Reims not merely as a large champagne grower and shipper, but also as a distinguished amateur of the fine arts, taking a leading part in originating local exhibitions and the like, are attached to his private residence, a handsome mansion flanked by a large and charming garden in the Boulevard du Temple. The laying out of this sylvan oasis is due to M. Vadr, the head gardener of the city of Paris, who contributed so largely to the picturesque embellishment of the Bois de Boulogne. M. Irroy's establishment, which comprises a considerable range of buildings grouped around two courtyards, is immediately adjacent, although its principal entrance is in the Rue de la Justice. The vast celliers, covering an area of upwards of 3,000 square yards, and either stocked with wine in cask or used for packing and similar purposes, afford the requisite space for carrying on a most extensive business. The cellars beneath comprise three stories, two of which are solidly roofed and lined with masonry, while the lowermost one is excavated in the chalk. They are admirably constructed on a symmetrical plan, and their total surface is very little short of 7,000 square yards. Spite of the great depth to which these cellars descend they are perfectly dry, the ventilation is good, and their temperature moreover is remarkably cool, one result of which is that M. Irroy's loss from breakage never exceeds four per cent. per annum. M. Irroy holds a high position as a vineyard-proprietor in the Champagne, his vines covering an area of nearly 86 acres. At Mareuil and Avenay he owns some twenty-five acres, at Verzenay and Verzy about fifteen, and at Ambonnay and Bouzy forty-six acres. His father and his uncle, whose properties he inherited or purchased, commenced some thirty years ago to plant vines on certain slopes of Bouzy possessing a southern aspect, and he has followed their example with such success both at Bouzy and Ambonnay that in 1873 the Reims Agricultural Association conferred upon him a silver-gilt medal for his plantations of vines. M. Irroy owns vendangeoirs at Verzenay, Avenay, and Ambonnay; and at Bouzy, where his largest vineyards are, he has built some excellent cottages for his labourers. He has also constructed a substantial bridge over the ravine which, formed by winter torrents from the hills, intersects the principal vineyard slopes of Bouzy.

M. Ernest Irroy's wines, prepared with scrupulous care and rare intelligence, have been known in England for some years past, and are steadily increasing in popularity. They are emphatically connoisseurs' wines. The best West-end clubs, such as White's, Arthur's, the old Carlton, and the like, lay down the cuves of this house in good years as they lay down their vintage ports and finer clarets, and drink them, not in a crude state, but when they are in perfection—that is, in five to ten years' time. M. Irroy exports to the British colonies and to the United States the same fine wines which he ships to England.

From M. Irroy's we proceeded to Messrs. Binet fils and Co., whose establishment in the Rue de la Justice is separated from that of M. Irroy merely by a narrow path, and occupies the opposite side of the way to the principal establishment of M. Louis Roederer. The firm of Binet fils and Co. was founded many years ago, but for a long time they sold their wines principally to other shippers on the Reims and Epernay markets, where their cuves were held in high repute, and only of recent years have they applied themselves to the shipping trade. Their establishment has two entrances, one in the Rue de la Justice, and the other in the Boulevard du Champ de Mars. On passing through the former we find ourselves in a courtyard of considerable area, with a range of celliers in the rear and a low building on the left, in which the offices are installed. In the first cellier we encounter cases and baskets of champagne all ready to be despatched by rail, with women and men busily engaged in labelling and packing other bottles which continue to arrive from the cellars below in baskets secured to an endless chain. Beyond this range of celliers is another courtyard of smaller dimensions where there are additional celliers in which wines of recent vintages in casks are stored.

The vaults, which are reached by a winding stone staircase, are spacious, and consist of a series of parallel and uniform galleries hewn in the chalk without either masonry supports or facings. Among the solid piles of bottles which here hem us in on all sides are a considerable number of magnums and imperial pints reserved for particular customers—the former more especially for certain military messes, at which the brand of Binet fils and Co. is held in deserved esteem. We tasted here—in addition to several choice sparkling wines, including a grand vin brut, vintage 1865—a still Ay of the year 1870, and some still Bouzy of 1874. The former, a remarkably light and elegant wine, was already in fine condition for drinking, while the latter, which was altogether more vinous, deeper in colour, and fuller in body needed the ripening influence of time to bring it to perfection. Through their agents, Rutherford, Drury, and Co., Messrs. Binet fils and Co. achieved a great success in England with their still Sillery, vintage 1857, and subsequently with their superb creaming vin brut, vintage 1865, of which we have just spoken, and which is still to be met with at London clubs of repute.

Some short distance from and parallel with the Rue de la Justice is the Rue Jacquart, where Messrs. Charles Farre and Co., of whose establishment at Hautvillers we have already spoken, have their offices and cellars. We enter a large courtyard, where several railway vans are being laden with cases of wine from the packing-hall beyond, and in the tasting-room adjoining find wine being tested prior to bottling, to ascertain the amount of saccharine it contains. This was accomplished by reducing a certain quantity of wine by boiling down to one-sixth, when the saccharometer should indicate 13 of sugar to ensure each bottle containing the requisite quantity of compressed carbonic acid gas.

Messrs. Farre's cellars, comprising eighteen parallel galleries disposed in two stories, are both lofty and commodious, and are mainly of recent construction, the upper ones being solidly walled with masonry, while those below are simply excavated in the chalk. Here, as elsewhere, one performed a lengthened promenade between piles after piles of bottles of the finer vintages and a seemingly endless succession of racks, at which workmen were engaged in dislodging the sediment in the wine by the dim light of a tallow candle. It was here that we were assured the more experienced of these men were capable, when working with both hands, of shaking the enormous number of 50,000 bottles a day, or at the rate of seventy to the minute.

The fine wines of Messrs. Charles Farre and Co. have long enjoyed a well-deserved celebrity, and at the Paris Exhibition of 1855 the firm secured the highest medal awarded to champagnes. The high repute in which the brand is held on the Continent is evidenced by the fact that the Prussian and other courts are consumers of Messrs. Farre's wines. The firm not only number England, Germany, Austria, Russia, and Northern Europe, and, as a matter of course, France, among their customers, but also several of the British colonies and North and South America as well.

The new establishment of Messrs. Fisse, Thirion, and Co., in the erection of which they have largely profited by their experience and the various resources of modern science, is situated in the Place de Betheny, in the vicinity of the railway goods station and the local shooting range, largely resorted to at certain seasons of the year, when the crack shots of the Champagne capital compete with distinguished amateurs from different parts of France and the other side of the Channel.

On entering the courtyard through the iron gate to the right of the dwelling-houses of the resident partners—flanked by gardens brilliant with flowers and foliage—we first reach the offices and tasting-rooms, and then the entrance to the cellars. A speciality of this important pile of building is that everything employed in its construction is of stone, brick, or iron, wood having been rigorously excluded from it. In the rear of the courtyard, which presents that aspect of animation common to flourishing establishments in the Champagne, is the principal cellier, with a small building in front, where a steam-pump for pumping up water from the chalk is installed, while at right angles with the cellier are the stables and bottle-sheds. The large cellier, which is 20 feet high and 80 feet broad, will be no less than 260 feet in length when completed. It contains two stories, the floors of both of which are cemented, the lower story being roofed with small brick arches connected by iron girders, and the upper one with tiles resting on iron supports. The cement keeps the temperature remarkably cool in the lower cellier where wine in cask is stored, the upper cellier being appropriated to wine in racks sur pointe, bales of corks, and the wicker-baskets and cases in which the wine is packed.

The preparation of the wines in cask and the bottling take place in the lower of the two celliers, a mere lad being enabled, by the aid of the mechanism provided, to bottle from six to eight thousand bottles a day. A single workman can cork about 4,500 bottles, which a second workman secures with metal agrafes before they are lowered into the cellars. The latter are of two stories, each being divided into three long parallel galleries 20 feet high and 23 feet wide, vaulted with stone and floored with cement. Bordering the endless stacks of bottles are small gutters, into which the wine flows from the exploded bottles. Lofty, well ventilated, and beautifully cool, the temperature invariably ranging from 45 to 47 Fahrenheit, these capitally-constructed cellars combine all that is required for a champagne establishment of the first class. The breakage has never exceeded 3 per cent., whereas in some old cellars which the firm formerly occupied in the centre of the city, their breakage on one occasion amounted to ten times this quantity.

At Fisse, Thirion, and Co.'s, after the wine has been disgorged and liqueured, the corks are secured neither with string nor wire, but a special metal fastener is employed for the purpose. This consists of a triple-branched agrafe, provided with a kind of hinge. A tiny toy needle-gun suspended to the agrafe is pulled outwards and turned over the top of the bottle, whereupon the fastening becomes instantly disengaged, and anything like trouble, uncleanliness, or annoyance is entirely avoided. The operation is so easy that a mere child can open a bottle of champagne, secured by this patent fastener, as easily and rapidly as a grown-up man.

The firm of Fisse, Thirion, and Co. succeeded that of Fisse, Fraiquin, and Co.—established originally at Reims in 1821—in 1864, when the brand of the house was already well known on the Continent, more especially in Belgium and Holland. Since that time the wines have been largely introduced into England and the United States, and the firm, who have secured medals at many of the recent exhibitions, to-day have agents in the English and Dutch Indies and the various European settlements in China. Several descriptions of wine are shipped by the house, the finest being their dry Cuve Reserve and their fragrant soft-tasting Cachet d'Or.


La Prison de Bonne Semaine— Mary Queen of Scots at Reims— Messrs. Pommery and Greno's Offices— A Fine Collection of Faence— The Rue des Anglais a former Refuge of English Catholics— Remains of the Old University of Reims— Ancient Roman Tower and Curious Grotto— The handsome Castellated Pommery Establishment— The Spacious Cellier and Huge Carved Cuve Tun— The Descent to the Cellars— Their Great Extent— These Lofty Subterranean Chambers Originally Quarries— Ancient Places of Refuge of the Early Christians and the Protestants— Madame Pommery's Splendid Cuve of 1868— Messrs. de St. Marceaux and Co.'s New Establishment in the Avenue de Sillery— Its Garden-Court and Circular Shaft— Animated Scene in the Large Packing Hall— Lowering Bottled Wine to the Cellars— Great Depth and Extent of these Cellars— Messrs. de St. Marceaux and Co.'s Various Wines.

Nigh the cathedral of Reims and in the rear of the archiepiscopal palace there runs a short narrow street known as the Rue Vauthier le Noir, and frequently mentioned in old works relating to the capital of the Champagne. The discovery of various pillars and statues, together with a handsome Gallo-Roman altar, whilst digging some foundations in 1837, points to the fact that a Pagan temple formerly occupied the site. The street is supposed to have taken its name, however, from some celebrated gaoler, for in medival times here stood "la prison de bonne semaine." On the site of this prison a chteau was subsequently built where Mary Queen of Scots is said to have resided in the days when her uncle, Cardinal Charles de Lorraine, was Lord Archbishop of Reims. Temple, prison, and palace have alike disappeared, and where they stood there now rises midway between court and garden a handsome mansion, the residence of Madame Pommery, head of the well-known firm of Pommery and Greno. To the left of the courtyard, which is entered through a monumental gateway, are some old buildings bearing the sculptured escutcheon of the beautiful and luckless Stuart Queen, while to the right are the offices, with the manager's sanctum, replete with artistic curiosities, the walls being completely covered with remarkable specimens of faence, including Rouen, Gien, Palissy, Delft, and majolica, collected in the majority of instances by Madame Pommery in the villages around Reims. Here we were received by M. Vasnier, who at once volunteered to accompany us to the cellars of the firm outside the city. Messrs. Pommery and Greno originally carried on business in the Rue Vauthier le Noir, where there are extensive cellars, but their rapidly-increasing connection long since compelled them to emigrate beyond the walls of Reims.

In close proximity to the Rue Vauthier le Noir is the Rue des Anglais, so named from the English Catholic refugees who, flying from the persecutions of our so-called Good Queen Bess, here took up their abode and established a college and a seminary. They rapidly acquired great influence in Reims, and one of their number, William Gifford, was even elected archbishop. At the end of this street, nigh to Madame Pommery's, there stands an old house with a corner tower and rather handsome Renaissance window, which formerly belonged to some of the clergy of the cathedral, and subsequently became the "Bureau Gnral de la Loterie de France," abolished by the National Convention in 1793.

The Rue des Anglais conducts into the Rue de l'Universit, where a few remnants of the old University, founded by Cardinal Charles de Lorraine (1538-74), attract attention, notably a conical-capped corner tower, the sculptured ornaments at the base of which have crumbled into dust beneath the corroding tooth of Time. From the Rue de l'Universit our way lies along the Boulevard du Temple to the Porte Gerbert, about a mile beyond which there rises up the curious castellated structure in which the Pommery establishment is installed, and whose tall towers command a view of the whole of Reims and its environs. As we drive up the Avenue Gerbert we espy on the right an isolated crumbling Roman tower, a remnant of the days when Reims disputed with Trves the honour of being the capital of Belgic Gaul. Close at hand, and almost under the walls of the old fortifications, is a grotto to which an ancient origin is likewise ascribed. In another minute we reach the open iron gates of Messrs. Pommery's establishment, flanked by a picturesque porter's lodge, and proceeding up a broad drive alight under a Gothic portico at the entrance to the spacious and lofty cellier. Iron columns support the roof of this vast hall, at one end of which is the office and tasting-room, provided with a telegraphic apparatus by means of which communication is carried on with the Reims bureaux. Stacked up on every side of the cellier, and when empty often in eight tiers, are rows upon rows of casks, 4,000 of which contain wine of the last vintage, sufficient for a million bottles of champagne. The temperature of this hall is carefully regulated; the windows are high up near the roof, the sun's rays are rigidly excluded, so that a pleasant coolness pervades the apartment. On the left-hand side stands the huge tun, capable of containing 5,500 gallons of wine, in which the firm make their cuve, with the monogram P and G, surmounting the arms of Reims, carved on its head. A platform, access to which is gained by a staircase in a side aisle, runs round this tonneau; and boys stand here when the wine is being blended, and by means of a handle protruding above the cask work the paddle-wheels placed inside, thereby securing the complete amalgamation of the wine, which has been hoisted up in casks and poured through a metal trough into the tonneau. Adjoining are the chains and lifts worked by steam by means of which wine is raised and lowered from and to the cellars beneath, one lift raising or lowering eight casks, whether full or empty, in the space of a minute.

At the farther end of the hall a Gothic door, decorated with ornamental ironwork, leads to the long broad flight of steps 116 in number and nearly twelve feet in width, conducting to the suite of lofty subterranean chambers where bottles of vin brut repose in their hundreds of thousands in slanting racks or solid piles, passing leisurely through those stages of development necessary to fit them for the dgorgeur. Altogether there are thirty large shafts, which were originally quarries, and are now connected by spacious galleries. This side of Reims abounds with similar quarries, which are believed to have served as places of refuge for the Protestants at the time of the League and after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and it is even conjectured that the early Christians, the followers of St. Sixtus and St. Sinicus, here hid themselves from their persecutors. Since the cellars within the city have no longer sufficed for the storage of the immense stocks required through the development of the champagne trade, these vast subterranean galleries have been successfully utilised by various firms. Messrs. Pommery, after pumping out the water with which the chambers were filled, proceeded to excavate the intersecting tunnels, shore up the cracking arches, and repair the flaws in the chalk with masonry, finally converting these abandoned quarries into magnificent cellars for the storage of champagne. No less than 60,000 was spent upon them and the castellated structure aboveground. The underground area is almost 240,000 square feet, and a million bottles of champagne can be stored in these capacious vaults.

Madame Pommery made a great mark with her splendid cuve of 1868, and since this time her brand has become widely popular, the Pommery Sec especially being highly appreciated by connoisseurs.

On leaving Messrs. Pommery's we retrace our steps down the Avenue Gerbert, bordered on either side with rows of plane-trees, until we reach the treeless Avenue de Sillery, where Messrs. de Saint Marceaux and Co.'s new and capacious establishment is installed. The principal block of building is flanked by two advanced wings inclosing a garden-court, set off with flowers and shrubs, and from the centre of which rises a circular shaft, covered in with glass, admitting light and air to the cellars below. In the building to the left the wine is received on its arrival from the vineyard, and here are ranged hundreds of casks replete with the choice crs of Verzenay, Ay, Cramant, and Bouzy, while some thousands of bottles ready for labelling are stocked in massive piles at the end of the packing-hall in the corresponding wing of the establishment. Here, too, a tribe of workpeople are arraying the bottles with gold and silver headdresses and robing them in pink paper, while others are filling, securing, marking, and addressing the cases or baskets to Hong-Kong, San Francisco, Yokohama, Bombay, London, New York, St. Petersburg, Berlin, or Paris.

The wine in cask, stored in the left-hand wing, after having been duly blended in a vast vat holding over 2,400 gallons, is drawn off into bottles, which are then lowered down a shaft to the second tier of cellars by means of an endless chain, on to which the baskets of bottles are swiftly hooked. The workman engaged in this duty, in order to prevent his falling down the shaft, has a leather belt strapped round his waist, by means of which he is secured to an adjoining iron column. We descend into the lower cellars down a flight of ninety-three broad steps—a depth equal to the height of an ordinary six-storied house—and find no less than four-and-twenty galleries excavated in the chalk, without any masonry supports, and containing upwards of a million bottles of champagne. The length of these galleries varies, but they are of a uniform breadth, allowing either a couple of racks with wine sur pointe, or stacks of bottles, in four rows on either side, with an ample passage down the centre.

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