The Champagne stained glass window in Reims cathedral

Over many years I have gathered together a wide range of imagery about grape growing and wine making, but although I have visited Reims cathedral on several occasions, I have never before had a camera with the right lens to take close up pictures of the famous stained glass window representing wine growing in the Champagne region.    Last weekend was different, and a leisurely afternoon provided the opportunity to share the imagery below.

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The window in the south transept was completed in 1954 following the removal of earlier glass in the 18th century, and damage to the cathedral in the 1914-18 war.  Funding came from  the Champagne Houses, winegrowers, overseas agents and others who wanted to help restore the cathedral.  The imagery shows many of the stages in making Champagne, but does so in the style of medieval glass.  It provides a fascinating insight into Champagne production as it was in the middle of the 20th century.


Filed under Photographs, Wine

4 responses to “The Champagne stained glass window in Reims cathedral

  1. David Green

    Thanks for this great set of photos. I too have visited Reims Cathedral many times from a very early age as my aunt and uncle and cousins all lived near Reims. I must admit that I’ve never paid much attention to the winemakers windows, but I will now! I spent the last visit photographing the amazing Chagall windows that so divide opinion! In one of your frames, wine treading in a traditional press is shown. In around 1960-61 I joined grape pickers on the Mountain of Reims, and later trod grapes this way at M Billard’s farm in Avenay, Val d’Or. M Billard was a family friend of my late uncle. I then enjoyed (rather too much I suspect) my first ever glass of brut. The Billard champagne was supplied to the French Army officers’ club in Epernay, and in some years was selected by Krug for their cru. My cousin’s dental surgery practice is in a building overlooking the east end of the Cathedral – a great sight from the dentist’s chair!!

    Thanks for reminding me of these memories! My aunt is over this week to see my ageing mum so I’ll be sure to show her your blog when we meet for lunch tomorrow.

    • Tim Unwin

      Thanks David – great to hear about the Billard history – perhaps I should share the Chagall image as well! I have to say that each time I have seen it I have actually come to like it more – I didn’t really like it the first time!

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