N-M (Champagne House)
Stands for Négociant-Manipulant, a producer who generally buys their grapes. They do not grow themselves to produce the volumes they need, and sometimes even grape must (unfermented grape juice) or wine. This does not exclude those who own large properties and Grande Marques (Louis Roederer, Taittinger, Mumm, Moët-Chandon etc.), they also own their own vineyards as well.
Or, they have no land ownership at all. The big global and well-known Champagne brands are all NM, but there are many that are much smaller. At the latest review there were about 300 NM or ‘Champagne Houses’ as they are more commonly known. 275 of NM represents only 7 percent of total production.
Stands for Coopérative-Manipulant. The cooperatives are very important in Champagne; growers are affiliated with the cooperative that buys the growers' grapes and they produce Champagne which can be sold as individual brands to supermarkets or as own brands. It can also make wines for some of its members – (see RC below.) There are more cooperatively affiliated vineyards in Champagne than any other French wine region, 140 at the latest count, but many of them belong to large associations. As a whole, the cooperatives account for about 8.5 percent of all Champagne in the market.
M-A (Custom Wine Product)
Stands for Marque d'acheteur. A private label or BOB (Buyer’s Own Brand). Some companies, cooperatives in particular, specialize in these. The wine is made with an agreed specification. The volumes for MA are quite large - a very important chunk of Champagne's overall market.
ELICITE Champagne Expert
Read Part Two here which explains the meaning of Blanc de Blancs and Blanc de Noirs found on some Champagne labels.