Weddings and Champagne: History & Customs

There is so much tradition associated between Champagne and Weddings. Toasting has become second nature with celebrations and special occasions. From commemorations, retirements, housewarmings, and even launching boats, champagne has been the wine of choice for celebrating.

The history of this beloved drink goes back to Roman times. They were the first to plant these vines in the Northeastern part of France. Known before medieval times, Monks would produce Champagne for use in their rituals and sacraments.

French kings were traditionally anointed in Reims where this lovely wine was served in coronation ceremonies. The oldest recorded Sparkling wine was made by Benedictine monk’s in1531 and it was called Blanquette de Limoux.

The name was from an English scientist Christopher Merret who documented an additional fermentation from added sugar in a paper he presented to the Royal Society where he named it methode champenoise in 1662. Great marketing which included copyrighting the name Champagne and creating strict regulations made Champagne popular among the common folk who could “live like a king” or at least drink like one with Champagne.

Laurent Perrier boasted in 1890 that Champagne was the favorite among King Leopold of Belgium, George1 of Greece and many other dukes and noble knights. He gave the image of affordable luxury which led to its association with celebrations.

The Toast

There are many mysteries surrounding the origins of the toast. Some apocryphal stories talk about poisoning and by clicking or touching the glasses together would cause the drink to spill into each other's cup.

Other stories include an ancient practice of placing a burnt piece of toast on top of the wine which took away some acidity makes the wine more drinkable.

Even in medieval times there was a toasting cup with two handles called Coupe de Mariage which a couple would share during a marriage and a small piece of toast would be placed on the wine to ensure a healthy life. Raising your glass and saying a few kind words have become customary.

Served in long flutes to keep the bubbles fresh and a long stem to keep the wine chilled, weddings and other ceremonies would not be the same without the Champagne. As always I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Further reading: Which is Drier Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot?

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