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With 288 hectares of vines, the Taittinger family are one of the largest vineyard owners in Champagne. Their holdings provide half of their needs for their annual Champagne production. Such extensive vineyard ownership is viewed as a way to control quality, but the company also concentrates on workforce management.
A system of task-related employee contracts has been adopted over the last 20 years at Taittinger, replacing hourly contracts. Today, each employee has sole responsibility for about three hectares of vines, including a requirement to meet specified yields. In other words, they work in a similar way to independent growers and are paid by the task rather than by the hour.
A welcome relief after some difficult years in the region. Quantity-wise, it was the seventh high-cropping year in a row. But, in 1995, the quality also excelled, and particularly so for Chardonnay. There were significant frost damages during the spring and the warm but wet weather in the summer ignited mildew and rot problems. The vines cropped heavily and rigorous vineyard work and selection during harvest led to best results. Harvest commenced on September 18th and yielded grapes of a fine balance of sugar and acidity. The vintage has turned out to be much better than first expected and it has emerged from the shadow of the much-hyped 1996. This vintage is marked by elegance of its inviting fruitiness, beautiful balance and slow-building finesse. Its greatest examples include Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires, Dom Pérignon (whole range), Louis Roederer Cristal and Cristal Rosé, Bollinger R.D, Krug Vintage and Taittinger Comtes de Champagne.