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How Champagne Works


Celebrity, Wealth and the Pop
Bottles of Beau Joie champagne sit ready for the Warner Music Group GRAMMY celebration on Feb. 12, 2012, in Los Angeles.
Bottles of Beau Joie champagne sit ready for the Warner Music Group GRAMMY celebration on Feb. 12, 2012, in Los Angeles.
Todd Williamson/Getty Images

For many, uncorking a bottle of champagne is the quintessential form of saying "congratulations." All over the world, champagne is shared at major events. New Year's Eve is probably the most notable and televised, but do you wonder why the hype given to the price tag and affluent consumer? Champagne's high price comes from its region, the cost of production and the time it takes to make. As a result, it's developed a reputation as a wine enjoyed by the classy and chic.

That's no surprise if you consider that a regular bottle of Dom Pérignon can cost you $170. A vintage DP Rosé costs as much as $400, and auction houses such as Sotheby sometimes sell bottles for $21,000. Hip-hop culture has also heightened the aura of popping bottles through celebrities like Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and Jay Z. Both frequently mention world-famous champagne houses in their lyrics and make it sound extremely accessible. Obviously, much of the buzz behind drinking champagne is the image it portrays and how much marketing executives feel the market can bear. Of the celebratory events where champagne is a must, NASCAR is known for its "champagne moment" at the end of the race, where bottles are poured over the winner. It's all about the victory, and what better way to enjoy the moment than by sharing champagne?

The most expensive bottle of champagne will break your bank -- but it'll also add to your art collection! According to Los Angeles Times writer Patrick Comiskey, a 1907 Heidsieck bottle sells for $275.000. The exclusive bottles were intended for the imperial family of Russia, but a shipwreck prevented them from reaching their intended owners. Found in 1997, they're now being sold at Ritz-Carlton hotels in Moscow. The mystery behind the lost ship and the length of time being lost single-handedly added to the hefty and unprecedented price tag!

In addition to the monetary cost, the mystery behind the loud pop and the bubbles' ability to remain fizzy make for good sidebar conversation at these bottle-popping events. Of course, the pressure released once the cork is removed from the bottle is the cause of the loud pop. But now that the bottle is open, how long will the wine stay bubbly? A Stanford University study shows that leaving a bottle untreated will leave you with more bubbles after 26 hours than one with alternate methods of preservation [source: Zare]. The myth that a silver spoon will preserve the fizz has been scientifically dispelled.


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