According to the Champagne Wines Information Bureau, as many as 5 million additional tourists may be drawn to the region, where the eclipse will begin to pass through Reims and Epernay at 11:06 a.m. and conclude at 1:47 p.m. The moon will completely obscure the sun at approximately 12:25 p.m. The next time such an event will take place in France will be Sept. 3, 2081.
In the past, astronomical events have been associated with excellent Champagne vintages. Regarded as one of the greatest in history, last century's "Comet Vintage" received its name when the vintages success was attributed to the appearance of the Great Comet of 1811. Already, the Champagne bureau is touting 1999 as the "Eclipse Vintage."