This white, autochthonous variety is probably one of the rarest in the world. It originated in the Champagne region, where it was slightly more widespread in the 19th century. The grapes demand the sunniest of locations, yet ripen very late and are low-yielding. They can even rest for two years without being at all mature. Because of this eccentricity, only a single hectare in Champagne is planted with Arbane, with few new plantings.
The INA (Institut national de l'origine et de la qualité) has undertaken the noble task of saving this historical vine from extinction – a difficult task given the convoluted and sometimes dubious rules of French wine law.