Champagne. It is synonymous with New Year’s Eve, celebrations, and joy. In honor of the upcoming New Year, here are 10 fun facts about the bubbly beverage.
- Champagne develops bubbles during fermentation after it is bottled. Before climate controlled cellars were created, fermentation would stop during the winter when it was cold and restart in the spring as the weather warmed. If a wine wasn’t consumed before spring, it would develop bubbles.
- While “real” champagne is only produced in one region of France today, the first champagnes as we know them were actually produced in England, where the technology for bottling and corking drinks with carbon dioxide was first developed. Many, including the French, considered bubbles to be a fault.
- The original champagne was sweet, but the British preferred a drier version, which eventually became more common throughout the world.
- Although the British popularized sparkling wine, French monarchs helped champagne rise in status tremendously throughout the centuries, especially Louis XV who was a big fan. Nobles drank champagne to please the king and commoners, who couldn’t afford the daily indulgence, drank it on special occasions.
- During the early years, champagne was pretty dangerous to produce- bottles had a tendency to explode, which meant workers could easily be maimed by flying glass and/or slip in the champagne that poured out of the bottles
- Dom Perignon was a monk who worked hard to improve the quality of his abbey’s vineyards. Like many French at the time, he considered bubbles in the wine to be a fault and sought out grapes less likely to create bubbles during fermentation.
- While it is possible to overindulge (so please watch your intake and don’t drive if you’ve had too much!), it’s harder with champagne than with other alcohol because of the bubbles.
- Sparkling wine produced in the EU can only be called champagne if it if from Champagne, France. It took about half a century and riots by producers to have the boundary lines for the growing region settled. It wasn’t until 1936 that the Champagne’s Appellation d’origins Controlée was created by French law.
- The Champagne’s Appellation d’origins Controlée only controls labeling within the EU. Countries outside of the EU can call their sparkling wines whatever they want, which is why you sometimes see champagne produced in the U.S.
- The reason we like champagne on New Years could be as much symbolic as it is the taste. The wine itself seems joyful and overflowing with abundance, just as we all wish for ourselves and our loved ones in the New Year.
However you choose to ring in the New Year, please do it safely. I wish you all much joy and happiness in the New Year. See you in 2017!