Champagne grapes don’t make Champagne [reader mail]

Dear Dr. Vino,

I just discovered that champagne grapes are really tasty. I bet they would pair well with champagne…

Do they make Champagne or is that a marketing thing?


It’s a marketing thing. Those sweet, pea-sized grapes that usually appear as a garnish (or in soft focus on greeting cards next to cheese and a glass of wine) are actually black Corinth grapes. When dried, they produce something confusingly called Zante currants.

Champagne almost always comes from Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier grapes. And it comes from the Champagne region, which, as far as Dr. Vino operatives have ascertained, has zero acres of black Corinth grapes.

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4 Responses to “Champagne grapes don’t make Champagne [reader mail]”

  1. A local supermarket always has grapes labeled as ‘Champagne’ grapes; they’re green, and don’t resemble Chardonnay or any other grape actually used in making bubbly. Makes me laugh every time I see them!

  2. Zante currants are just tiny raisins. Whenever I try to buy currants I end up with these silly little things. They’re ok but not really currants.

  3. what is 12 grapes?

  4. […] Champagne made from champagne grapes? No, those are for decoration. The champagne in your glass likely is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and/or Pinot Meunier […]


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