The Discovery of Champagne Bubbles

Rumor has it that when the French monk, Dom Perignon, first tasted the champagne he created, he said, “Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!” Whether he actually said it or not, it’s a great description of this sparkling wine. I don’t drink a lot of champagne, but someone recently gave me and my husband a bottle of Dom Perignon. How nice!

French Benedictine monks were the first to create champagne in the 17th century, named after the Champagne region of France where they lived. One of the monks was Dom Pierre Perignon (1639-1715). Some say he was the very first monk to discover champagne, but the topic is controversial. During those times, monks produced wine because it was blessed and used during mass.

Because of the cooler temperatures and shorter growing season of the grapes in the Champagne region, the grapes were picked late in the year and fermentation was often cut short. A second fermentation process began in the spring when weather got warmer. This second fermentation process created natural bubbles of carbon dioxide. If the champagne was stored in barrels, the effervescence escaped. But when stored in bottles, how the monks stored it, the bubbles were trapped inside. Hence, champagne.

Some of the cheaper versions of sparkling wine—some produced in North America—have the carbon dioxide bubbles injected directed by machine. This is not true champagne.

The first bottle of the brand name Dom Perignon was produced in 1936–named after the famous monk.

What’s your favorite drink? Maybe it’s non-alcoholic? Right now, I’m partial to teas — peppermint, chamomile, and red tea. The vineyard in the photo is one I took while visiting Napa Valley in California. Actually, I live near the Niagara Region of Ontario, and its most southern point goes as far south as the northern tip of California, and so the weather here is favorable for growing grapes. The Niagara region produces some world-class wines.

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