Champagne: Bubbles Weren’t The Plan

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A glass of Champagne. (Image by Flickr user bgvjpe via Wikimedia Commons)

August 4, 1693, is the traditional date given for the invention of Champagne by monk Dom Perignon.

Here are some things you may not have known about Champagne.

First off, Perignon didn’t invent sparkling wine.

Sparkling wine was actually considered a flaw at the time.

The shortness of the growing season in the Champagne region meant that the fermentation of the wine would sometimes not be complete when cold winter weather. The wine would referment in the spring, resulting in carbonated wine that would sometimes explode in a chain reaction.

Perignon developed winemaking rules to prevent refermentation.

Among the rules was the exclusive use of Pinot noir from aggressively pruned vines. He also advised that the grapes be picked early in the morning and that the grapes didn’t bruise or break. He knew that reducing the contact with grape skins produced a clearer, high-quality wine.

Despite Perignon’s work, the British developed a taste for sparkling wine. They also made several advances that resulted in the wine’s enduring popularity.

In 1662, a British scientist figured out that sugar could be added to nearly any wine before bottling it to make it sparkle. British glass makers also made advances that resulted in more robust bottles that could withstand the higher pressure of sparkling wine.

Eventually sparkling Champagne became popular with royal courts across Europe.

These sparkling wines were considerably sweeter than what is popular today.

Through the 19th century, Champagne was a sweet wine. Russians preferred it very sweet, while the English preferred it much drier.

Champagne is a term reserved for sparkling wines that are made in the Champagne region and are made following strict rules. The United States allows wines that used the term ‘Champagne” before 2006 to continue using the term, but it must be modified with the wine’s origin — for example: California Champagne. The state of Oregon prohibits wine makers in the state from using the term.

Our question: Who was the first race car driver to spray Champagne following a victory?


Today is Coast Guard Day in the United States; Constitution Day in the Cook Islands, and Revolution Day in Burkina Faso.

It’s unofficially National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, National White Wine Day and National IPA Day.

It’s the birthday of musician Louis Armstrong, who was born in 1901; hockey legend Maurice Richard, who was born in 1921; and U.S. President Barack Obama, who is 55 today.

Because our topic happened before 1960, we’ll spin the wheel to pick a year at random.

This week in 1960, the top song in the U.S. was “I’m Sorry” by Brenda Lee.

The No. 1 movie was “Portrait in Black,” while the novel “Advise and Consent” by Allen Drury topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

Weekly question

Name the artists from the following five songs that were  played on MTV’s first day.



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