Grower champagne (small-scale producers) are family-owned champagne houses that use the grapes from their own estates to produce 'personal' champagne. Due to variable quality of frut from year to year, growers have varience in quality of their champagne.
On the other side are big Champagne houses that can use up to 80 different Crus to produce their bubbles, and hence have more conrtol of the final product.
Champagnes can be identified by the initials that appear before a number on the wine label. The initials most commonly associated with Grower Champagnes is RM (meaning Récoltant-Manipulant) but there are other initials that may appear on the label.
NM (meaning Négociant-Manipulant) appear on the labels of large Champagne houses that source the majority of their grapes rather than growing them.
CM (meaning Coopérative-Manipulant) is a co-operative of growers who blend the product of their collective vineyards to sell under one or more brands. In this situation the individual grower may have some involvement in the winemaking process.
RC (meaning Récoltant-Coopérateur) is a wine sourced from a single grower but made entirely for him by a co-operative winemaking facility. While the wine is sold under the grower's own brand, he will often have had very little if any involvement in the winemaking process.
SR (meaning Société de Récoltants) is a registered firm set up by two or more growers who share the same winery which they use to make wine to sell under their own label. This designation differs from a CM in that the growers almost always have significant involvement in the winemaking process.