This chapter looks briefly at the early history of champagne and the dramatic increase in production in the late nineteenth century. Champagne producers were the most successful of all producers in establishing brand names, informing consumers of wine quality, and associating the drink with the needs of the rapidly changing lifestyles of the middle and upper classes in rich urban societies during the nineteenth century. The chapter also considers the organization of the commodity chain favoring the champagne houses over British retailers, the response of the champagne houses and small growers to the phylloxera crisis, and the collapse of local production and importation of large quantities of outside wines after 1906. In the end, despite the crisis, the champagne producers were still more successful than those in other wine regions in controlling the quality of their product.
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