No one had to “invent” sparkling wine. Effervescence has always been a natural phenomenon, produced as a result of fermentation.
But it took the legendary Dom Perignon, a Benedictine monk in the Champagne region of France, to develop a process that could produce a consistently fine sparkling wine and make it commercially viable.
In the late 17th century, Dom Perignon discovered that by blending the wine from several of his best vineyards, he could produce a wine greater than any of its components. Intrigued by its naturally sparkling tendencies and helped along by the introduction of glass bottles and corks, Dom Perignon is credited with developing the méthode champenoise, allowing his exquisite cuvée to ferment in individual bottles.
When he first tasted his champagne, Dom Perignon is said to have exclaimed, “I am drinking stars!”
Today, most of the practices he developed are still in use by champagne makers throughout the world. While some steps of la méthode champenoise have been mechanised, the basic process has remained the same for all these many years.
View a “splash of history” for yourself! These final steps in the méthode champenoise process are visible through the gift shop windows of Thornton Winery. Watch the production line as the sediment is removed during disgorgement, the dosage is added, the bottles are corked, and the cork is wired down.
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