Champagne: A Bubbly History

Today, Champagne is more popular than ever before, but its history has followed a rich and varied course. Made in the eponymous northeast region of France, Champagne emerged as a sparkling wine in the mid-17th century. The region’s short growing season and cold climate meant that the wine had to referment in the bottle, producing the carbonic gas. But the bubbles were not desired – they were seen as a symptom of bad wine-making. Due to its propensity to explode in the cellars, Champagne became known colloquially as ‘the devil’s wine’. Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon tried hard to remove the natural fizz, but his efforts instead went on to aid Champagne production for centuries.

champgange cellar

Image: Champagne Vollereaux Cellar

Why is it called champagne?

Champagne, the wine, is named after the region where it is grown, fermented and bottled: Champagne, France. Nestled in the country’s northeastern corner, near Paris, the only labels that are legally allowed to bare the name “Champagne” are bottled within 100 miles of this region (according to European Law).

Originally cultivated by the Romans as early as 400 A.D., today’s vineyards that adorn Champagne’s beautiful hills and plains span 76,000 acres and 319 villages.

Types of Champagne producers

In France, there are two types of producers. There’s Negociant Champagne houses, which go out and buy the grapes before bottling them. Then, there’s Grower Champagne houses, which own property in Champagne, France, and produce and bottle all on their own estate.

champagne house

Image: Champagne Vollereaux

Does the price of champagne matter?

There definitely is a different quality and taste level as you go up the ladder.  There are several factors that affect the price of Champagne, see below to name a few.

  • Some Champagne Houses have been around alot longer than others and know as the crème-de-la-crème of the Champagne making world.
  • The older a bottle of Champagne is, the more expensive it typically is.
  • Quality of the Grapes.
  • Vintage or non-Vintage.

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