Who is George CHAPPAZ ?

Photo and text from the archives of the Chappaz family.

George CHAPPAZ (1874-1953) was a leading specialist in viticulture, agriculture and horticulture as well as a prolific author, high-ranking civil servant and able administrator. In 1919, as the newly appointed Inspector General of Agriculture, he was asked to oversee the recovery efforts for the flailing Champagne industry hit hard by the economic crisis. Over the next ten years, Chappaz worked closely with the Association Viticole Champenoise to coordinate the reconstruction of the Marne vineyards. He also put into place a collective strategy to combat the grape berry moth, Eupocilia ambiguella. In 1921, Chappaz became the secretary general of the Commission de Défense et de Propagande du vin de Champagne. As the first publicity committee for Champagne wines, it regrouped winegrower associations and Champagne houses, marking the uniting of ownership and trade.

The active envolvement of Chappaz in defining the limits of the Champagne production area spanned three decades. The demarcations of 1898 and 1911 were finalized in the law of 1927, which laid down the legal boundaries of the Champagne terroir and ended the longstanding quarrel between the vine growers of the Marne and the Aube districts.

The legacy of George Chappaz for the Champagne region lies above all in his role as a great unifier.