Champagne is one of the great prides of the French. Thanks to its secret process and its light bubbles this wine has gained worldwide fame. This sparkling wines name, which is actually the name of its area of production in the North-East of France, is registered and protected. Any sparkling wine cannot be called “Champagne”. Only the wine that is produced in the specific vineyard of Champagne can use this name.
The origins of Champagne are from ancient times, but the wine produced in the Champagne area became a sparkling beverage during the seventeenth century.
The royal court of France and England used to love Champagne very much, but they had troubles because by keeping it in barrels its quality was declining. This is the reason why they placed it in smaller “wine bottles” with a cork plug to keep its full flavor. This bottle invented by the British people, made long term wine conservation much better.
Were you aware that the wine became sparkling by chance and not due to a designed process? Actually, the sparkling effect was a headache for the winemakers because the pressure was so strong inside the glass bottles that they were exploding or the plug was thrown out, making them call Champagne “The evil wine” or “Wine the Jumper”!
The transfer from barrel to bottles is what would actually produce the sparkling effect. The British people indeed were initially the ones who made the Champagne famous because they had a deep love for this wine. And at the same time, British people would buy regular barrels of Champagne wine and would transfer them into glass bottles to produce the sparkling effect they loved. They also noticed that the most profitable time to create the most foam while pouring the wine was spring. They also added cane sugar to the wine they were importing from the colonies abroad, to develop this foam and increase the alcoholic content of the wine.
However, the French scientist Louis Pasteur is the one who studied the fermenting process during the eighteenth century and managed to stabilize the sparkling process and produce a standard wine. Time after time, winemakers mastered the wine production until they got the sparkling wine we know and we love so much today. This production method is called “The traditional” or “The Champenoise” method. It includes hand picking the grapes within very specific vineyards and ripening the fruits for a certain minimum of time.
Today France produces more than three hundred millions of bottles a year. Half of it is exported to more than one hundred ninety countries! The United States is the second largest world wine importer with twenty millions bottles a year.