FOOD & DRINK
12/31/2014 07:00 am ET Updated Dec 31, 2014

Champagne Was Created By Accident, And We Have Mother Nature To Thank

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Champagne is a tongue-tingling symbol of celebration, extravagance and class. Poppin' bottles is an exclusive activity reserved for blinged-out rappers, dripping in diamonds and costly furs, well-paid athletes who've won it big and the general elite. (Marilyn Monroe allegedly bathed in a tub filled with 350 bottles of the bubbly drink.)

But the drink wasn't always the crème de la crème. Just as lobster was once regarded as a poor man's food, Champagne was considered a result of careless winemaking. In the 1400s, capricious temperature changes in Europe infringed on the fermentation process. "The cold temporarily halted fermentation, the process by which wine is made," Marina Koren writes in Smithsonian Magazine. "When spring arrived with warmer temperatures, the budding spirits began to ferment again. This produced an excess of carbon dioxide inside wine bottles, giving the liquid inside a fizzy quality."

The weather-induced effervescence was initially met with disdain. Bottles of the accidental bubbly would continuously explode and the flawed drink was deemed unacceptable by many. But in the same way lobster came to be a divine delicacy, the twice-fermented wine transformed from a spoiled drink into a luxurious libation.

By the end of the 17th century, a monk named Dom Pierre Pérignon (sound familiar?) was asked to fine-tune the drink, and make it even more enriched with bubbles. (These days, champagne contains approximately one million bubbles per glass.) Though Pérignon was not the only one focused on the drink, he is often cited as Champagne's creator. This could explain why Dom Pérignon-branded Champagne starts at upwards of $100. But really, we owe our appreciation to the weather fluke.

Take Champagne's story as an inspiration. This year, as you clink and toast with a glass that hisses and pops, remember that the best things in life can't always be planned, and that some accidents are actually miracles. Cheers to you, Champagne.

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