Everyone has a glass (or bottle?) of bubbly every now and then, right? Today the alcoholic beverage has become a symbol of celebration – you drink it on anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, New Year etc. But don’t confuse sparkling wine with Champagne – as most of people know nowadays, Champagne is a type of bubbly wine, produced in a certain way from grapes grown specifically in the Champagne region in France. Everything else you’re being sold as “champagne” is nothing but bubbly wine trying to get some money on the back of the famous wine brand.
However, the story about Champagne is widely known, and in this article I wanted to focus on a specific brand of Champagne – the vintage Dom Pérignon. The brand of sparkly wine is owned by one of the French Champagne houses – Moët & Chandon. Fun fact: the producers are co-founders of LVMH – a French multinational luxury goods conglomerate, owner of brands like Givenchy, Louis Vutton, Bulgari, Hennessy, Zenith and many more.
Still, as you can see Dom Pérignon is obviously not names after a location, or founder’s name. The brand name origin actually tells the story of Dom Pérignon – a Benedictine monk, who lived back in 17th and 18th century. He is famous for being an important quality pioneer for the production of Champagne wine, but unlike the rumors say has not invented the process for making champagne and sparkly wines. Obviously he was an important figure in the history of Champagne otherwise Moët & Chandon wouldn’t name their brand after him.
While he did not invent sparkling wine, nor champagne, his work was aimed at preventing the wine from refermentation and breaking of the wine bottles which used to lead to chain explosions of the bottles in proximity to each other. He is said to have established a set of wine making rules so that the sparkly wine doesn’t explode. These included advices on correct treatment of the vines and on the harvesting process in order to minimize the second fermentation effect and the possible burst of the bottles. Further stories tell of the monk being the first one to use cork instead of wood, that he could name the exact vineyard by tasting a single grape. Along with the suggestion that it was Dom Pérignon who invented the process of making and blending Champagne, these stories are considered myths which were supposed to boost the historical importance and prestige of the church. However, he did improve the production and quality of Champagne and is worth the praise of the people in Champagne business. It is interesting to see that Dom Pérignon died in 1715, whereas the first bottle of Dom Pérignon was released in 1921 – more than 200 years after the famous monk lived.
If you got interested in the story behind the vintage champagne you might also want to check out some of our other naming articles on personal names involved in the process of naming, e.g. what IKEA stands for or the story behind the naming of the popular Teddy bear.