While many know it as a beloved celebratory beverage, it also has deep roots in the region of, you guessed it, Champagne. However, there was a heavy influence in the surge of the bubbly wine brought on by one of France’s greatest trading neighbors: the English.
In reality, the champaign we enjoy today is much like the beverage the English created by mistake. Benedictine monks were supplying them with still wines from Champagne, red and white wines which were left on the London docks during the sub freezing winters. The wines eventually got cold so they started undergoing a second fermentation causing them to become carbonated.
According to popular belief, Champagne was first created in the 17th century by a monk named Dom Pierre Pérignon, but it was English physician Christopher Merret was the first to describe the second fermentation process in wine to create fizz.
One of the byproducts of fermentation is the release of carbon dioxide gas, which is trapped inside the wine, causing intense pressure to build up, and in the 17th century, pressure inside these weak French wine bottles often caused them to explode. Originally, the French were horrified to find their wine containing bubbles, and considered it a fault, but many wine drinkers started becoming accustomed to the bubbly sensation, and soon Champagne gained its popularity worldwide. The English also rediscovered the use of cork stoppers, once used by the Romans but forgotten for centuries after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
Speaking of corks, you may notice that one of the distinguishing features of champagne is the “muselet” or wire cage fitted over the mouth of a Champagne bottle. This ingenious addition was created in the 19th century to prevent the cork from popping out due to pressure from bubbles.
Though there were ups and downs throughout the history of champagne sales have grown steadily to over 200 million bottles since 1950. The increase in worldwide demand has prompted the French authorities to look into expanding the region's AOC zone to facilitate more production.
We hope you’ve enjoyed seeing how Bubbling Over wine led to the creation of one of the most famous celebratory beverages in the world. How much credit do you believe the English deserve for the creation of champagne? Join the conversation below!