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Wine 101: Champagne: Part V the Champagne Riots

Throughout our Champagne series, we’ve seen the style evolve from a still wine with a pinkish hue into a clear, celebratory, aristocrat-friendly sparkling wine. By the late 1800s, the export markets were booming and the price of Champagne was soaring, but so were tensions between grape growers and Champagne houses.

Nowadays, there’s grower Champagne — bubbly produced by growers for their own enjoyment and profit. There are also Champagne houses that have their own vineyards, so several are not necessarily looking to buy grapes from external suppliers. But in the 19th century, Champagne houses exclusively got their grapes from the grower community and growers relied on wine producers for their income.

The tail end of the 19th century saw matters get much worse for the growers. Long periods of frost and rain decimated crops, phylloxera reached the region in the 1890s, and mold and mildew plagued Champagne’s wines for the first 10 years of the 20th century. But since the export market was still thirsty for more juice, Champagne houses started sourcing grapes from Spain and Germany to make faux Champagne, and riots ensued.

Today on “Wine 101,” Keith discusses the historic Champagne riots of the early 1900s and the 40,000 troops who were necessary to mitigate the chaos. It was violent and ugly, yet became an important part of the region’s history — and eventually gave way to a series of laws that helped define Champagne as we know it today. Tune in for more.

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“Wine 101” was produced, recorded, and edited by yours truly, Keith Beavers, at the VinePair headquarters in New York City. I want to give a big old shout-out to co-founders Adam Teeter and Josh Malin for creating VinePair. Big shout-out to Danielle Grinberg, the art director of VinePair, for creating the most awesome logo for this podcast. Also, Darby Cicci for the theme song. And I want to thank the entire VinePair staff for helping me learn something new every day. See you next week.

*Image retrieved from saxoph via

The article Wine 101: Champagne: Part V the Champagne Riots appeared first on VinePair.

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