The echélle des crus

Initially established in 1911, the echélle des crus is the  official crus scale of Champagne used up until 2010. The vine-growing villages were scaled according to the quality of their grapes. The ranking was based on athe quality and consitency of a commune withthe type of subsoil, slopes gradient, and sun exposure being taken into account. The classification was developed to set the price of grapes grown in each village. A percentile system-the Échelle des Crus-acted as a pro-rata system for determining individual grape prices, based on a predetermined “full” price. The scale was originally conceived as a 1-100 point scale, but it evolved, and eventually, the lowest-rated villages, the simpler crus, were rated at 80%, up to 89%. Premier crus villages were rated between 90% and 99%, while the highest rated villages, the grands crus, were rated 100%. Villages with high ratings would receive higher prices for their grapes than vineyards located in villages with a lower rating.Tthe classification has actually no legal meaning but is interesting as a guide as to how the producers of the regions evaluated the different communes.