What is Champagne?
Sparkling wine was first perfected in the district of Champagne, France, in the early 1700s by the Benedictine monk and cellarmaster Dom Perignon (sound familiar?). Upon seeing the bubbles in his glass, he captured the essence of his discovery with the words, "Come brothers, hurry, I am drinking stars!" The formula for Champagne is Sugar (grape juice) plus yeast = alcohol. The emissions of this is CO2 gas. Put a beer cap on top of the bottle makes the CO2 emission implode into the wine, hence sparkling wine.
Can you call it Champagne?
The French wanted to protect the use of the term "Champagne" to only refer to bubbly made using traditional methods from grapes grown and vinified in the Champagne region of France, so when the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919 to end WWI, they included limits on the use of the word. There was a loophole that allowed producers in the United States to legally put the word "Champagne" on their bottles of bubbly—much to the irritation of the winegrowers in Champagne.
In early 2006, the United States and the European Union signed a wine trade agreement, and the issue was brought up again. The United States agreed to not allow new uses of certain terms that were previously considered to be "semi-generic," such as Champagne (as well as Burgundy, Chablis, Port and Chianti). However traditional makers of sparkling wine in the US (like us) who made this kind of wine before the administration accepted the European law can still call their wine Champagne.
Wilson Creek Winery is proud to be a California winery, so we decided to do our part to promote California sparkling wine by taking the French name "Champagne" off the label. We haven't changed anything about the way our wines are made, so fans of our wines can continue to enjoy the sparkle they love, in a stylish new package!
What are the three ways to make Sparkling Wine?