The lungs of the wine cellars
The Aÿ ventilation shafts
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In the village of Aÿ, the ventilation shafts rising up from among the vines point to the presence of cellars dug out below the hillside. As they protrude into the air, the shafts are a sign of the “verticality” that characterises the cultural landscape of the Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars. 

The chalky substrate underlying Aÿ has enabled cellars to be dug out under the hillside, extending out from the buildings located at the upper end of the village. Mirroring the more extensive cellars in Épernay, they comprise either one or two horizontal levels, based on a grid plan, with the main galleries facing the mountains (south-north), linked by three or four transverse galleries.

Several networks of large cellars have ventilation shafts at the junction between the main and transverse galleries. The shape and size of these shafts give them a very different appearance to those of the crayères, the ancient chalk quarries below Saint-Nicaise Hill in Reims. These shafts were not the starting point for construction of the cellars - as was the case for the Reims quarries - but rather serve as actual ventilation shafts. This points to the presence of cellars in the area and confirms the high density of underground Champagne production facilities.

Les essorts

Ventilation shafts became necessary when cellars were dug deep down into the ground and can be identified by the presence of chimneys built above ground. Their red brick ducts rise up amidst the vines.


Infos pratiques

Tourism Office Hautvillers

Place de la République – 51160 Hautvillers

+33 (0)3 26 57 06 35

Les essorts
The place where Champagne was born
Les circuits des cadoles des Riceys
Grauves panoramic viewpoint
Les Riceys panoramic viewpoint
Château-Thierry American Monument
Leboeuf Champagne House, known as the Pressoir Henri IV
Battles of the Marne Memorial (1914-1918) in Dormans
Hautvillers Abbey (in Hautvillers)
Distant horizons
Outstanding built heritage along its entire length
A bird's eye view of the town and hillsides
Philipponnat Champagne House (Mareuil-sur-Aÿ)
Billecart-Salmon Champagne House (Mareuil-sur-Aÿ)
Château de Montebello (Mareuil-sur-Aÿ)
Hôtel Guyot (now the Maison Belle Époque)
The Sainte-Hélène press house in Hautvillers
Vranken-Pommery Champagne House (Reims)
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne House (Reims)
Moët & Chandon Champagne House (Épernay)

G.H. Martel & Co Champagne House (Reims)
Bollinger Champagne House (Aÿ)
Coopérative Générale des Vignerons – COGEVI (Aÿ-Champagne)
Cité-jardin du Chemin Vert (Reims)
Mission Coteaux, Maisons et caved de Champagne

Mission Coteaux, Maisons et caves de champagne C/O, Agence d'urbanisme de Reims, Place des droits de l'homme CS 90 000 51084 Reims CEDEX FRANCE

+33 (0)3 26 77 42 89

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