On this day in 1693, Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon invented champagne, the sparkling wine of celebration and joy.
Pérignon had keen sense of smell and palate and knew of a special characteristic of the white wine of A˙, Champagne in northern France. This wine became effervescent with a second, short-lived fermentation and still contained yeasts that remain dormant in winter. With spring warmth, the sap worked in the vines and the yeast came to life and multiplied.
Pérignon worked diligently at his abbey to create this second wine fermentation and regulated the wine to keep its effervescence. He finally succeeded when he was 60 and produced champagne as we know it today, saying, "Come quickly! I am tasting the stars!"
Champagne quickly became the wine of English and French royalty and the favorite at aristocratic gatherings. Napoleon Bonaparte once said, "I drink champagne when I win, to celebrate . . . and I drink champagne when I lose, to console myself."
"Remember gentlemen," commented Winston S. Churchill in 1918 in the midst of World War I, "it's not just France we are fighting for, it's champagne!"
"There comes a time in every woman's life," said silver screen icon Bette Davis in Old Acquaintance, "when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne."
Raise your glass and toast the beauty of life!