The 19 October is World Champagne Day, and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate this day than to dig up some great facts about our favourite bubbled beverage — and to enjoy a glass of chilled bubbly, of course.
Cybercellar.com has put together a list of interesting facts that you might not know about Champagne, and we can guarantee that once you have finished reading the list, you will certainly be craving a glass.
9 things you didn’t know about Champagne
1. Champagne’s existence came about through sheer fluke. It is named after a region in France called Champagne, which is a very northerly area and experiences very cold weather in winter.
This cold weather would interrupt the fermentation process and when spring came around, the fermentation process would start again resulting in fizzy wine. Winemakers would try and halt this secondary fermentation process to no avail and thus, Champagne came into being.
2. In the early days of Champagne, because it was created by accident, normal wine bottles were used to store the Champagne. These bottles were not designed to withstand the pressure of the wine from the second fermentation and they kept exploding.
It is estimated that at least 90% of the bottles burst. This is why champagne bottles have a deeper indentation in the bottom than other wine bottles. The pressure in the bottle is around three times the amount of pressure in an average car tyre and is around 90 pounds per square inch!
3. A typical bottle of champagne has around 49 million bubbles with 30 additional bubbles created each second.
These bubble trains, called collarets, are the strings of bubbled beads trailing up the glass once you have poured it.
4. Have you ever heard the story that champagne glasses were modelled after Marie Antoinette’s bosoms?
Well, if you had, this is pure gossip and not true at all. The glasses in question (which are the round champagne glasses and not the flutes), were designed in England in 1663, well before she was even born, thus putting the myth solidly to bed.
5. Did you know that the various champagne bottle sizes actually have names? Interestingly enough, their names are derived from biblical sources.
The largest bottle is called Melchizedek and is 40 times the size of a normal bottle. The name originates from the Book of Genesis and Melchizedek was the king who blessed Abraham. Directly translated it means “My king is righteous”. Half of a Melchizedek is called a Nebuchadnezzar and a fifth is a Methuselah.
6. A popping champagne cork is more dangerous than you think! You are more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than a poisonous spider as it reaches up to 64km/hour.
The longest distance travelled by a cork is 54 metres, which makes you think twice about popping the next bottle around a group of people.
7. We are all familiar with the fact that sparkling wine may not be legally labelled as ‘Champagne’ unless it is actually produced in the region. But have you ever wondered why so many brands did label them as such until 2006?
Due to a loophole in the Treaty of Versailles, the US government allowed the labels to be branded as Champagne until 2006 with no new brands being allowed to advertise it as ‘Champagne’ going forward.
8. The oldest bottle of Champagne was found in 2010 in the Baltic Sea. It was among a horde of 167 bottles of bubbles that had aged almost to perfection.
Among them was a 170-year-old bottle of Veuve Clicquot which was untouched by the ocean around it. This bottle was sold at an auction for 30,000 Euros, which set a new world record!
9. Dom Perignon has been famed for being the original creator of Champagne, but in fact, he was trying to do quite the opposite. When the Benedictine Monk realised that his wine was going through its second fermentation, he tried his utmost to stop and reverse the process. His actions, however, led him to create this great bubbled drink.