The famous Champagne producer is going to test Voltis, a hybrid grape variety resulting from agronomic research that is resistant to mildew and powdery mildew. Maison Drappier was already using the seven traditional grape varieties authorised in the champagne specifications.
And eight! Drappier, the honourable Champagne House founded in 1808, will be able to add an eighth grape variety to its production of the most famous sparkling wine.
Michel Drapier, who holds the reins of the House, revealed last March that he was going to plant his first “Voltis”.
This white grape variety is the result of a Franco-German project initiated in 2000 to develop “PIWI” varieties, i.e. resistant to fungi. Developed by INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique) and the Julius Kühn Institute, using genes from Vitis berlandieri, Vitis rupestris, Vitis vinifera and Muscadinia, Voltis is not affected by oidium or mildew.
This will be a great first, as Voltis will be the first PIWI grape to be included in the specifications of an AOC.
However, Voltis is still only admitted on an experimental basis and will still have to prove itself.
Drappier, and after him the other champagne producers who will plant Voltis, will have to limit this variety to less than 5% of their property. Nor may it exceed 10% of the composition of a wine blend. These constraints will be in place for an observation period of ten years. After this period, an audit of the quality of the champagne thus produced will be carried out. And if the result is disappointing, the Voltis would then be removed from the Champagne specifications.
Not before 2030
We will have to wait and see if this new grape variety can be definitively integrated into the Holy of Holies of Champagne. In any case, Hugo Drappier, son of Michel and in charge of the management of the estate, has indicated that Voltis will not be used to make wine before 2028. And that it will only be used in a champagne blend from 2030 at the earliest.
In the meantime, Drappier can rely on the seven historic grape varieties of Champagne, and…they all use them, which is already a rarity in the industry. In addition to the three musts of the region, i.e. chardonnay, pinot noir and meunier, Drappier uses four rarer grape varieties, namely arbane, petit meslier, and two types of pinot (blanc and gris, locally called fromonteau for the latter)…
Featured photo : © Drappier