New Year’s Eve is here! The ball is about to drop, and it’s time to start untwisting that champagne bottle and get ready to pop the cork. While it’s something you may do every year, have you ever wondered where this tradition came from and what champagne, or sparkling wine, actually is?
All Champagnes Are Sparkling Wine, but Not All Sparkling Wines Are Champagnes
Champagnes and sparkling wines are created the exact the same way. They are both fermented like a wine, but more yeast and sugar is added when they are bottled to induce a second fermentation. As the yeast eat the sugars they create carbon dioxide, which in turn will carbonate the wine. This is why you see the crown cap, or cage made of wires, that holds down the cork. Without it, the carbon dioxide would push the cork out and all carbonation would be lost.
So what’s the difference between a champagne and a sparkling wine? In order to be classified as a champagne the wine must be produced within the Champagne region in France. The name champagne has been legally protected since the 1800s. If the wine is made outside of the Champagne region, it is just simply a “sparkling wine.”
Why Do We Drink Champagne During Special Occasions Like New Year’s?
In the early days of champagne, only the wealthiest noble families could afford to buy it, but as time went on, merchant class families started building their fortunes. They began to buy more and more champagne, but since they still could not afford to drink it regularly they would save it for special occasions. This tradition carried on throughout generations, and we still drink the bubbly for New Year’s and other celebrations throughout the year.
What Champagne or Sparkling Wine Should You Choose For Your New Year’s Toast?
TJ, our Fairfield wine manager, shared three of his favorites to consider for your New Year’s celebration.
We at Jungle Jim's International Market hope you have a wonderful New Year's. Make sure you stop in and grab yourself some bubbly on the way to your party. Cheers!