Dom Pierre Pérignon (c. 1638–14 September 1715) was a Benedictine monk who made important contributions to the production and quality of Champagne wine in an era when the region’s wines were predominantly still pink and red. Popular myths frequently, but erroneously, credit him with the invention of sparkling Champagne, which didn’t become the dominant style of Champagne until mid-19th century.
In his era the in-bottle refermentation that gives sparkling wine its sparkle was an enormous problem for winemakers. When the weather cooled off in the autumn, refermentation would sometimes keep fermentable sugars from being converted to alcohol. If the wine was bottled in this state, it became a literal time bomb. When the weather warmed in the spring, dormant yeast roused themselves and began generating carbon dioxide that would at best push the cork out of the bottle, and at worst explode, starting a chain reaction. Nearby bottles, also under pressure, would break from the shock of the first breakage, and so on, which was a hazard to employees and to that year’s production. Dom Pérignon thus tried to avoid refermentation. READ MORE