26 Interesting And Fun Facts About Champagne That You Probably Didn’t Know

The pop of a champagne cork is an instantly recognizable and euphoric sound synonymous with celebrations and festivities.

So before you drink another glass of champagne, here are some interesting and fun facts about the world’s classiest drink. Get ready to love that bubbly even more than you did before!

There Is No Grape or Town Called Champagne

Unlike some other famous drinks, Champagne is actually named for the region, which is located in Northeastern France, rather than a variety of grape. There is no grape called Champagne. There is also no town called Champagne. It refers to the entire region.

Not All Sparkling Wine Can Be Called Champagne

In order to be called Champagne, the drink has to be produced in a very specific corner of France. The Champagne growing region is located in Northeastern France, and even neighboring French regions are not allowed to call their sparkling wine Champagne.

Champagne Is a Wine

It sounds like stating the obvious, but Champagne is made from fermented grapes following similar cultivation techniques as other wines. However, Champagne is exceptional in that its production must follow unique procedures in order to obtain its bubbles.

Champagne Is the Coldest Wine Growing Region in France

The region of Champagne is located around 95 miles east of Paris and is the coldest wine growing area in France due to the fact that it’s the most northern wine growing region. The average annual temperature of Champagne is 53 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s actually the cooler weather that gives the grapes just the right acidity for perfect Champagne making.

Bubbles in Wine Used to Be Considered a Defect

Up until the 17th century, sparkling wine was often considered defective by winemakers. Sparkling wine naturally occurs in cellars, if temperatures drop in the autumn before fermentation is complete and the wine is bottled. When temperatures warm in the cellars, the once dormant yeast becomes active and feasts on the remaining sugars, causing effervescence when carbon dioxide from restarted fermentation is trapped in the bottle. We’re glad someone finally recognized the benefit of those bubbles.

Champagne Wouldn’t Exist Without Clay

One of the elements that makes Champagne such a unique growing region (200 days of rain and cooler temperatures aside) is the clay in the soil that is deep under the earth. It leads to some of the best growing conditions and also aging conditions. The reason so many aging caves are underground is because clay creates the perfect conditions for Champagne to rest. It maintains the perfect level of moisture, absorbs shock so the bottles don’t get shaken, and stays cool during the entire process.

Over 300 Million Bottles of Champagne Are Produced on an Annual Basis

The exact number of Champagne bottles produced in any given year will vary depending on a variety of factors (growers are dealing with nature, after all). Weather, pests, and anticipated consumption all factor into exactly how many bottles are made. But, in general, it tends to be over 300 million on a yearly basis. In 2021, 315 million bottles were produced, and 326 million bottles in 2022.

The Champagne Industry Is Worth a Lot

The Champagne industry has an annual revenue of over 5 billion dollars!

Dom Perignon Didn’t Invent Champagne

Possibly the most well known “fact” about Champagne turns out to be fiction. Dom Perignon, the monk who worked as the cellar master in the Abbey of Hautvillers, may have created techniques to stabilize the bubbles during the aging process, but he didn’t come up with the method. In fact, the oldest record of sparkling wine being made is in 1531, and it wasn’t anywhere near the Champagne region. Blanquette de Limoux was produced in the Abbey of Saint Hilaire in the Aude region down in the south of France

And, to add insult to injury for the French, it was an Englishman named Christopher Merrt who documented the process of adding sugar to fully finished wine (second fermentation) in order to create bubbles, way before Dom Perrignon even came near Hautvillers Abbey in 1668.

A Standard Bottle of Champagne (750ml) Has Roughly 49 Million Bubbles

Around 49 million bubbles can be found in a standard champagne bottle of 750ml. But who claims that, and how did this person come to this conclusion?

Bill Lembeck, an eminent scientist and champagne connoisseur, determined the volume of CO2 in a 750ml bottle and divided that figure by the volume of a regular bubble: thus arriving at 49 million bubbles. (He did not count the bubbles with the naked eye!)

There Are Three Main Grape Varieties Used to Make Champagne (and even red grapes can make white wine)

Champagne is largely made up of a combination of three types of grapes: Pinot Noir (a red variety), Pinot Meunier (a red variety), and Chardonnay (a white variety.) Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are the only red grapes allowed to be used to make Champagne.

Champagne Is Ready to Drink Immediately

Contrary to what many people think, most bottles are meant to be consumed immediately and don’t need time in the cellar (or your wine rack). That’s because most of what is produced are non-vintage, or NV, made with wines from several vintages to maintain a consistent house style.

The exception to this rule are bottles produced during vintage years, which are designated around three times every decade when a harvest is particularly exceptional. Vintage bottles, using grapes from one particular year, will continue to evolve and improve over time.

When Buying Champagne, You Should Ask If You Can Have a Bottle from the Restocking Room

When buying Champagne, especially those in clear bottles (like Ruinart), you should ask if you can buy one from the store’s back room rather than from the shelf, as Champagne starts to degrade when it’s exposed to light (hence Champagne caves). Buying it straight out of the shipping box will ensure higher quality.

You Shouldn’t Store Champagne in the Refrigerator 

We all like to keep a bottle of the bubbly in the fridge for an unexpected celebration, but when champagnes are kept in the refrigerator the cork does dry out and shrinks so that the carbonation is able to escape. Other smells and flavors can also get in.

A better practice is to store your bottle in a dark place and, when needed, place it in an ice bucket with ice and water. In 10-15 minutes your champagne will be perfectly chilled.

The First Glass of Champagne Has the Most Bubbles

The first glass of champagne has the most bubbles, meaning the first glass also will get you feeling drunk the fastest. Every glass thereafter poured from that bottle will be more potent than the one before. Given that the bubbles are what helps the alcohol enter the bloodstream faster, the more bubbles, the faster the fuzzy feeling might take over.

The First Champagne Was Known As the “Devil’s Wine”

The beginning of the champagne industry was haphazard to say the least. In the beginning, the pressure of the sparkling wine was so strong that it caused many bottles to explode and corks to pop unexpectedly.

The wine was called le vin diable (the devil’s wine) as it wasn’t yet understood that a stronger glass bottle would be needed to contain the pressure.

Today, Champagne bottles are made to withstand the pressure exerted by the wine, which is two to three times greater than the pressure of a car tire!

You Can Thank Napoleon for the Tradition of Sabering Bottles

After the French Revolution, the saber was the weapon of choice for the Hussars, the French statesman’s light cavalry, whose members would create a spectacle by using them to open bottles during victory celebrations across Europe.

The secret is to slide the blunt side of the saber along the seam towards the cork, as it is the weakest part of the bottle. As the saber hits the lip, it breaks the collar from the neck, and the force of the liquid escaping prevents any glass from entering.

The technical term for opening a bottle of Champagne with a sword is sabiage. Of course, this technique is only used in ceremonial contexts nowadays and should not be attempted at home. Seriously.

You Should Drink Champagne Out of a White Wine Glass

Traditional coupe glasses (supposedly modeled after Marie Antoinette’s breast) makes champagne go flat and flavorless pretty quickly. Flutes preserve the bubbles, but the narrow rim limits the aromatics, diminishing a huge part of the tasting process.

Though white wine glasses can have similar problems to the coupe, they’re the closest things in your cupboard to official (often expensive) champagne glasses which lie between a white wine glass and a flute in design.

Winston Churchill Had Champagne Every Day at 11:00am

Winston Churchill was one of the biggest champagne drinkers on record. Between 1908 and 1965, he drank an estimated 42,000 bottles. Pol Roger even made him a special one pint bottle that was served to him every day at precisely 11:00am.

Marilyn Monroe Took a Champagne Bath of 350 bottles

The Hollywood icon was known for her love of all things luxurious, and a champagne bath perfectly fit the bill.

James Bond Drank Champagne 65 times in Ian Fleming’s Famous Novels

The world’s most famous spy is a big fan of champagne, and is often seen enjoying a glass of the bubbly in the films. It’s not all about the martini, shaken not stirred, after all.

Lady Gaga and Dom Perignon Designed a Champagne Bottle

The American singer, songwriter, and actress, and the Champagne brand Dom Perignon collaborated together to design a limited edition bottle for the French brand.

Champagne Is Consumed All Over the World

Champagne is exported to over 190 countries all across the world. The biggest consumers of champagne are the French, followed by the UK, USA, Germany, and Japan.

Drinking Champagne Every Week Can Prevent Memory Loss

According to new research conducted by the British University of Reading, drinking Champagne could help to improve brain functions and even delay Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers found that polyphenol antioxidants (contained in Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes) can stimulate cognitive brain functions that deal with memory and learning.

The World’s Oldest Bottles of Champagne Were Found on the Baltic Seabed

In 2018, a team of divers discovered 30 bottles of champagne in the wreckage of a ship that sank in the Baltic Sea. The bottles, which were well preserved, are believed to have been made by Clicquot between 1782 and 1788.

Global Champagne Day Is Celebrated on the 4th Friday of October

Save the date! The US, for their part, typically celebrates champagne on December 31st – one couldn’t find a better drink to finish the year. However, the global date is the 4th Friday of October, which is a moving target to ensure that you always have a day to recover.

To summarize…

Obviously, champagne pairs perfectly with New Year’s Eve countdowns, romantic candlelit Valentine’s Day dinners, and cheeky heartfelt wedding reception toasts. But did you know that its palate-cleansing bubbles are just as much a foil for fried chicken and french fries as for rich foie gras? Or that it goes swimmingly with artfully prepared sushi? Fuller bodied styles can even hold their own next to filet mignon, seared duck breast, or tender lamb chops. Champagne’s mouthwatering acidity and effervescence allow it to cozy up with almost anything. It doesn’t need a celebration, it is the celebration!

So the next time you visit WiseGuys do yourself a favor, order a bottle of bubbly and take your meal to the next level.