The British drank champagne long before the French, according to documentary
English aristocracy ‘put champagne in fashion‘
Frank Mannion, the director, said that The Man of Mode includes “the first mention of sparkling champagne anywhere in the world … it offers documentary evidence for the British claim that the British drank sparkling champagne years before. Dom Perignon, the “father of champagne”.
“In fact, it was the English aristocracy that helped make the sparkling drink in fashion and this is one of the reasons the English can claim to have ‘discovered’ champagne.”
The dispute over the origins of champagne concerns the inventor of the method of making sparkling French wine and the popularization of the sparkling drink.
Dom Perignon, a French Benedictine monk, is credited with producing champagne in 1697, although his history is shrouded in myth. The affirmation that he called upon his colleagues: “Come quickly, I taste the stars!” was invented for a late 19th century marketing campaign.
Reinforcing the English case, it was also claimed that Christopher Merrett, a West Country scientist, invented the second fermentation technique needed to produce champagne and the bottles to contain it, documenting his findings in 1662.
The film includes a visit to the Royal Society to examine Merrett’s article, in which he describes the making of sparkling wine.
Mannion said, “In the film, we solicit a number of different opinions as to where champagne came from and leave it up to the audience to decide who invented it.
“In this post-Brexit era, it is a colored prism through which we can take a good-humored look at Anglo-French relations.”