The row over the origins of champagne is about who invented the method of making the French wine sparkling, and popularised the effervescent drink.
Dom Perignon, a French Benedictine monk, is credited with champagne production in 1697, although his story is shrouded in myth. The claim that he called to his fellow monks: “Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!” was invented for a late-19th century marketing campaign.
Bolstering the English case, it has also been claimed that Christopher Merrett, a West Country scientist, invented the second fermentation technique required to produce champagne, and the bottles to contain it, documenting his discoveries in 1662.
It’s the bottle that’s the crucial invention, not the second fermentation. Anyone familiar even with beer would know about second fermentations. It’s having a bottle that’s sound enough to be used to store something under pressure that’s important. Further, being able to make that regularly – that is, mass production of the bottle strong enough to contain the pressure.
That’s definitely an English invention. And yes, the bottles used to be exported from England to be filled and then returned.
This is all well known. Well, well known enough that I’ve read about it in some popular history or other so it must be pretty well known.
It’s even entirely logical – you can’t have bottled fizz until you’ve a bottle that can withstand fizz now, can you? So it’s got to be the bottle that’s the crucial invention.