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Questions and Answers

We have collected frequently asked questions and do our best to answer them.
If you are missing a question you'd like answered, let us know here.

 

 General Questions

Where do De Watère Champagnes come from?

Our Premier Cru Champagnes are made in the Vallée de la Marne in the beautiful little village of Avenay Val d’Or. 

When was De Watère founded?

We introduced De Watère Champagne to the world in 2011 after years of careful development.

Why is your logo a Gryphon?
The first De Watère was Guillaume who was mentioned in the year 1,086. His crest was a blue Gryphon. To him and us this symbol has been a proud guardian and an embodiment of our high standards.
What is the minimum order quantity?
There is none. You can order any of our products from a single item.
Has De Watère won any prizes?
We keep participating in competitions. We post our wins to our news section. Learn more about our prizes here or on the individual product pages.

How can I buy De Watère Champagnes in Europe?

You can conveniently order from our online shop with free EU wide delivery. If you prefer to go through your wine merchant, you can ask them to order from us. We will happily work with them for you.

How can I buy De Watère Champagnes internationally?

Our Champagnes are exclusively available in the EU while our Gryphon line of accessories is available for worldwide shipping.

If you are not in the EU and would like to purchase our Champagnes, please talk to your local wine merchant about importing them from us. We will be happy to work with you and them. You can contact us about this here. 

 

 Deliveries & Returns

How much do you charge for shipping?

We do not charge for shipping over 100€ order value right now. Below 100€ shipping costs depend on your delivery location.

How long does delivery take?

We offer free express delivery. This typically takes 3-5 business days.

Orders placed before 2pm Central European Time are usually sent on their way to you on the same day.

Which delivery services do you use?

We use DHL, UPS, FedEx and DPD. The individual carrier for your order depends on their availability and delivery speed to you.

I need to return a product. How do I do this?

Returns are easy: please contact us with details on your order  and shortly tell us what is wrong and which product you would like to return to us. We will send you a pre-paid shipping label via email. Once the product has reached us and has been inspected, we will issue a refund to your original method of payment.

How much do you charge for returns?

Returns in the EU are usually free of charge for you. Internationally, you only pay the shipping costs.

How long can I return products?

We offer a free 14 days return period. For returns after this period, we will individually work it out with you. Please contact us here

 

Champagnes & Production

What quality are your grapes? De Watère Champagnes are exclusively made from Premier Cru locations in and around Avenay Val d'Or in the heart of the picturesque Vallée de la Marne, just a few minutes away from Ay, and about 15 minutes from Reims, where all the French Kings were crowned.
How old are your vines? The most recent vines were planted in the 1990‘s until 1995 while the majority of vines are from the 1960‘s. So, most of our grapes come from vines that are 60 years old. 
Which grapes do you use? We use Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Chardonnay for freshness and elegance, Pinot Noir for aromas and body.
How do you press the grapes?

We use a traditional 4,000kg vertical press. However, our current press was entirely new developed combining the traditional vertical setup with most modern precise pressing. This press is the only one of its kind in Champagne. 

The juice is released both at the bottom and on the sides through a fine mesh, ensuring we only receive the freshest of juices.

Which part of the press do you use?

De Watère Champagnes are exclusively made from the "Cuvée".

When pressing, we use 4,000kg of grapes that result in a total of 2,550 litres of juice. The first 2,050 litres are of the highest purity: the "Cuvée". This is followed by 500 litres of "Taille". Even though most producers employ the Taille somehow into their wines, we choose to create De Watère Champagnes exclusively from the Cuvée. The remainder of the pressing is brought back into the vineyards as natural fertiliser.

In what containers happens the first fermentation?

The first fermentation happens in enamelled steel tanks. Here, our Champagnes can ferment without the interference from aromas from outside the pure grape juice.

Enamelled means that a glass powder is heated on a surface, in this case steel, and thereby forms a lasting insulating bond with the steel. This protects the grape juice from steel aromas during fermentation.

How do you filter after the first fermentation?

Short answer: we don't.

Instead of using either chemicals or mechanical filters, we let gravity do the work. Granted, it does take some patience but we are willing to invest this extra time.

Over time, all the tiny natural particles in the wine float to the bottom of the tank which allows us to remove the wine while leaving the residue in the tanks which are cleaned afterwards for the next Cuvée.

How long do De Watère Champagnes mature on the yeast?

There is no set time for our Cuvées. Instead of predetermining the maturation period, we taste regularly and decide based on actual development when to release our Cuvées to the market. The longest we have waited in the past was about 96 months.

How do you Disgorge?

Disgorgement happens manually at De Watère.

Since Champagne matures in the bottles together with yeast to develop those beautiful aromas and the tingling Perlage (effervescence), the yeast remains as residue in the end and has to be removed to result in clear Champagne.

To remove the residue, the bottles are progressively turned and rotated upside down so that the yeast slides to the top of the bottle, right underneath the cork.

The residue is then frozen by shortly dipping the top of the bottle into a below-freezing water solution. Then, the bottles are turned around (the cork now facing upward), the cork is released and the residue ice block shoots out from the bottle. This step is known as "Disgorgement".

Usually, this step is done by machines but at De Watère, nervy bottle is disgorged by hand.

What's your Dosage?

Typically, our Cuvées receive a Dosage of 6.9 grams, resulting in a very "Brut" Champagne.

The Dosage is added at the end of the production process after Disgorgement.

Disgorgement removes a tiny bit of Champagne along with the residue (see: "Disgorgement") which needs to be replaced.

Typically, a sip of still reserve wine is infused with sugar and then introduced to the Champagne in the bottle before adding the final cork.

For De Watère, we use disgorged Champagne from the same batch for this step, resulting in a much smoother blend in the end. Of course, this means we need to produce more Champagne than is eventually available for sale. We see this as a necessary sacrifice for the highest quality.

What corks do you use?

The corks come from Portugal and all three layers are of the highest quality rating.

Corks in Champagne consist of several layers ordered from the contact point with the Champagne in the bottle: two slices of natural cork, 1 medium-grade shred, and natural shredded cork at the very top right under the Plaque (that's the part that forms the top of the mushroom shape in the end).

We use only highest grade natural cork for all three parts.

What does "Saignée" mean?

"Saignée" means "bled out" in French.

In the context of making Rosé Champagne "Saignée" means that the Rosé is created by leaving the juice and the grape skins in the press together just long enough that the red colour and aromas can "bleed out" into the otherwise clear juice.

Even juice from red grapes is clear. The colour exclusively stems from the skins. You can easily check this by cutting an ordinary red grape open: the flesh is clear.

For the vast majority, Rosé Champagne is created by combining red and white wine. However, this red wine includes bitter tannins which might be desirable in a still red wine but is destructive to sparkling Champagne.

By letting the grapes bleed out, we ensure that we win enough aromas and colour for our Rosé while omitting the bitter tannins. This process requires a tremendous amount of skill and perfect timing or the entire Cuvée pressing (2,050 litres or over 2,700 bottles) is ruined. Consequently, Saignée is very rare and special.