Champagne is English

D.A.Coleman and Vernon Coleman

The French invariably claim to have invented champagne. Indeed, the European Union has given France the rights to the `methode champenoise'. No wine maker living outside the limited Champagne region of France is allowed to use the name `champagne' to describe their produce.

But the French didn't invent champagne.

Champagne was invented by a self-taught English scientist called Christopher Merrett who came from the cider producing West Country. Born in 1614 Merrett devised two techniques which were fundamental for manufacturing champagne; and he did it decades before the Benedictine monk Dom Perignon who is usually given the credit for inventing the most luxurious of luxury wines.

Merrett used techniques from the cider industry to control the second fermentation process which makes wine fizzy.

It was in 1662 that Merrett gave a scientific paper to the Royal Society in London in which he described adding vast quantities of sugar and molasses to wine made it taste `brisk and sparkling'.

It wasn't until 30 years later that Dom Perignon's work at the Abbey of Hautvillers at Epernay officially started the vast champagne industry.

It was also Merrett who invented the stronger glass which is needed to stop the bottle exploding when it contains champagne. In a publication entitled `The Art of Glass' he explained how bottles could be made stronger by adding iron, manganese or carbon to the molten mixture. Early French champagne makers recognised Merrett's contribution and described the bottles they used as being made of verre Anglais (English glass).

Taken from Englandís Glory by D.A.Coleman and Vernon Coleman, now available as a paperback on Amazon.

Copyright D.A.Coleman and Vernon Coleman 2019