Why is champagne a drink for celebrations and used to mark special occasions? Is it just because it’s exclusive and iconic?

The bubbly, light-colored wine has historically been associated with luxury and the parties of the royal courts and aristocracy of Europe, said Kolleen M. Guy, associate professor of history at the University of Texas at San Antonio and author of “When Champagne Became French” (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003).

Just the act of opening a champagne bottle is enough
… to mark a celebration, and in some cases, the bubbling beverage isn’t even consumed during the festivities, Guy said.

But it’s not is not just Popping the cork and toasting as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. It is also history:

1915 English magazine illustration of a woman riding a Champagne cork

What do we know from the history?
Fred Chandon offered their champagne to the winners of French Formula 1 Grand Prix events sometimes in the 30’s. The race took place at the famous Reims circuit in the heart of Champagne.

But for 30 years the winners drank the Champagne: Then in 1967, Dan Gurney and A. J. Foyt sprayed for the first time a bottle of champagne from the winner’s podium after they won in 1967 the 24h Race of Le Mans in a Ford GT40. Gurney, not a drinker, was handed the victors’ bottle of Moët et Chandon and instead of swigging it as previous winners were accustomed to doing, he grabbed the open bottle, shook it vigorously and with his thumb over the open neck began to “spray” the celebratory crowd present in victory circle – starting a tradition for winners in all sports that has lasted to this day.

Now, Alcohol is legal
When the prohibition of of alcoholic beverages ended in the United States (on December 5, 1933), there were two companies in the alcohol industry that wanted to make the most out of this event by creating a marketing campaign to celebrate for this unique moment. Those companies were Anheuser-Busch (a beer producer) and Moët & Chandonand (a champagne producer).

Moët & Chandonand developed a new prestige cuvée that. It was released on December 5th to celebrate the end of prohibition.
Note: A prestige cuvée is the name given to the best Champagnes a Champagne house produces. Each of the Champagne houses (called Marquees) usually produce several different prestige cuvées, each with a unique brand name.

Already in 1882
Much earlier (1882) Henry Vizetelly, a British author, commented on the use of Champagne at launchings, inaugurations and celebrations. The British have been launching ships with wine since the 17th Century.

“I would say that champagne is important symbolically.”
She said and “Many athletes and race car drivers have champagne poured on them… but don’t drink it,”

And now let us find something to celebrate

Tagged with:

Leave a Reply