A great glass of bubbly contains a lot of ingredients. In fact, a vintage bottle of champagne, in reality, takes years to craft. Not to mention, grapes used to make champagne can only be grown in a specific region of France. If they aren’t grown there, the beverage can’t legally be called champagne.
Champagne became linked with aristocracies in the 17th century, and it is now consumed by celebrities, rappers, and other wealthy individuals for every type of occasion and celebration. However, chances are you were already aware of this.
If you’re a trivia enthusiast, the fun facts about champagne listed below can come in handy when you’re toasting the holidays with a glass of bubbly!
Champagne Fun Fact #1: Champagne Takes Years to Produce
Although some manufacturing techniques require a few months to produce champagne, the actual method takes anything from three to fifteen years. In fact, on average, it takes ten years to make some of the best champagne.
While sparkling wines can be prepared in various methods, conventional champagne is made using a technique known as the méthode champenoise. Champagne comes into existence in the same way that any other wine does. First, the grapes are collected and pressed, and primary fermentation is allowed to take place. Then, the acidic byproducts of this process are mixed and bottled with sugar and yeast so that secondary fermentation can take place inside the bottle.
It’s the secondary fermentation process that creates the bubbles in champagne. First, the yeast starts working its magic on the sugar before dying and transforming into what is known as lees. The bottles are then stored horizontally for at least fifteen months to allow the wine to “age on lees.”
During this aging process, the bottles are turned upside down to allow the lees to drop to the bottom. Once the dead yeast has settled, the makers open the bottles to remove the yeast, add sugar (dosage) to decide the sweetness of the champagne, and seal the bottle with a cork.
Champagne Fun Fact #2: Champagne Region Is Critical for Making Good Champagne
The Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay grapes cultivated in the Champagne region are particularly well suited for making exquisite champagnes for various reasons.
Because of its northern location, the Champagne region is slightly cooler than the rest of France’s wine-growing regions, allowing the grapes to have the right acidity for sparkling wine production. Furthermore, the region’s porous, chalky soil, which was formed millions of years ago due to major earthquakes, facilitates drainage.
Champagne Fun Fact #3: A Benedictine Monk, Dom Perignon, Had a Massive Impact on The Champagne Industry
Contrary to common belief, the famous brand’s namesake didn’t invent champagne. However, Perignon, a Benedictine monk who worked as a cellar master at an abbey in Epernay during the 17th and 18th centuries, significantly influenced the champagne industry. During Perignon’s time, champagne was not a particularly popular beverage.
In fact, the bubbles were seen to be a fault, and early production methods rendered the drink somewhat unsafe to make. Improper temperature control could cause fermentation to restart after the wine has been placed in the bottle. A chain reaction would occur if one bottle in a cellar exploded and the cork shot out.)
Perignon helped standardize champagne production methods to avert these explosions and added two safety measures to his champagnes: a rope snare that kept corks in place and thicker glass bottles that could withstand more pressure.
Champagne Fun Fact #4: Athletes Started Spraying Each Other With Champagne In 1967
Champagne has always been a joyous drink and has made appearances at ship launches and kings’ coronations. However, the bubbly-spraying throwdowns accompanying sporting successes are a new phenomenon. For example, A. J. Foyt and Dan Gurney ascended the winner’s podium with a bottle of champagne in hand when they won the grueling 24 Hour-long Le Mans in 1967.
When Gurney looked down and spotted Ford Motors CEO Henry Ford II and team leader Carroll Shelby standing with a group of journalists, he decided to have a laugh. So, Gurney shook the bottle and sprayed the audience, starting a new ritual.
Champagne Fun Fact #5: The Champagne Hillsides Are Part of UNESCO World Heritage
Champagne’s cellars, houses, and hillsides have been officially designated as a UNESCO world heritage site in the category of Living Cultural Landscapes since 2015. This honor comes from the Paysages du Champagne Association’s request, and the UNESCO officials unanimously agreed that it has remarkable universal worth.
This accreditation will also aid in the preservation of the 320 AOC in the Champagne region and the continuation of traditional and ancestral methods of producing this unique wine. Champagne has a lot to offer, from its architecture to human history!
Champagne Fun Fact #6: Sugar is The Only Differentiating Factor Between Brute and Extra Brute Champagne
These phrases are used on champagne labels to describe how sweet the liquid inside the bottle is. As mentioned before, Just before the bottle is corked, a small amount of sugar called dose is added, and these phrases describe how much sugar is added to a particular bottle of champagne.
Extra brut champagne has less than six grams of sugar added per liter. On the other hand, brut champagne has less than 15 grams of sugar added per liter. Although the drier champagnes are the most popular, there are several different classes.
Champagne Fun Fact #7: Sabrage Was Invented by Napoleon Bonaparte’s Cavalry
Following the French Revolution, Napoleon’s cavalry determined that the traditional pop-and-foam champagne opening ceremony wasn’t visually stunning. They replied by popularizing the use of a sword to open bottles.
Sabrage is a technique that entails holding a bottle at arm’s length and quickly swinging a saber towards the bottle’s neck. The glass breaks when the saber’s blade strikes the glass lip just beneath the cork, sending the cork and neck away while the rest of the bottle remains intact.
Now that you’ve enriched your general knowledge with a few fun facts about champagne, we’re sure that you are dying to explore these amazing champagne cellars and beautiful landscapes. That said, some research will quickly allow you to find a plethora of places, clubs, and websites that provide valuable information about this superstar drink, ranging from preserving and serving it to the greatest tourist destinations for the travel bug who is also a Champagne enthusiast.