From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Épernay (IPA: [epɛʁnɛ]) is a commune in the Marne department of northern France, 130 km north-east of Paris on the mainline railway to Strasbourg. The town sits on the left bank of the Marne at the extremity of the Cubry valley which crosses it.
Épernay (Sparnacum) belonged to the archbishops of Reims from the 5th until the 10th century, when it came into the possession of the counts of Champagne. It was badly damaged during the Hundred Years’ War, and was burned by Francis I in 1544. It resisted Henry of Navarre in 1592, and Marshal Biron fell in the attack which preceded its eventual capture. In 1642 it was, along with Château-Thierry, named as a duchy and assigned to the duc de Bouillon.
Épernay is best known as the principal “entrepôt” for champagne wines, which are bottled and kept in large cellars built into the chalk rock on which the town is built. The major grape varieties used in champagne are the pinot noir, the pinot meunier and the chardonnay. The production of the equipment and raw materials used in the champagne industry is a major source of local employment. Champagne Pannier, among others, was established in Épernay before moving to Château-Thierry in 1937. Brewing and sugar refinery and the production of hats and caps, are also major industries.