|Location:||Reims, 66, rue de Courlancy.|
JAN to JUL Mon-Fri 8:30-11, 14-16:30.
SEP to DEC Mon-Fri 8:30-11, 14-16:30.
After appointment only, online form on website.
Adults EUR 7.
Groups (25+): Adults EUR 5.
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Dimension:||L=7,000 m, T=11 °C.|
|Guided tours:||D=1 h.|
|Address:||Lanson, 66, rue de Courlancy, 51100 Reims, Tel: +33-326-785050, Fax: +33-326-785099. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
The tours through the cellars at Lanson take an hour and show the visitors all steps in the production of champagne. It starts with the presentation of the champagne region and the Lanson vineyards. The different steps of the production, from the vats, the bottling, the aging, the riddling (remuage), the removal of sediment (dégorgement) and the labelling, are shown in the still working cellars. So this is not a museum, it is more like a factory tour.
The grape juice or musts is vinified in huge stainless steel tanks, the different grape-varieties and villages in separate tanks. In the next spring the new vine is tasted and the vines are blended to create a continually high quality of the wine. But this is just the first step, after bottling the second step of fermentation takes place called prise de mousse (bottle fermentation). It produced the carbon dioxide which makes champagne a sparkling wine.
Then the bottles are aged for years and finally a sediment if formed, consisting of the remains of the yeast. The riddling process is designed to move this sediment into the neck of the bottle, where it can be removed. The bottle is only slightly shaken, but it is turned a little and and the bottom is lifted a little further. So during the years the bottle moves around and from the vertical to the bottom up position. Once this was done by hand by specialists, today robots do the same work, which can be seen on the tour.
To get rid of the sediment, the neck of the bottle frozen by dipping it into a freezing solution. The temerature is cold enough to freeze the pure wine, but not the sediment. When the bottle is opened, the pressure ejects the liquid sediment, but is not able to press out the ice. The empty space is filled with alcohol, hard liquor or liquor. The choosen liquor determines the type of Champagne, if it is without sugar the champagne will be brut (dry), if it contains sugar it will be demi-sec or sec. Finally the bottle rest four to six months before they are sold.
The tour also includes the final stages of the production process, the visual controll of the bottles, the labeling, and the packing. Most of the bottles are labelled by a machine at a speed of 6,000 bottles per hour, but the Cuvées de Prestige, Noble Cuvée Brut and Blanc de Blancs, are labelled by hand.