At no time is champagne more popular and widely consumed than around New Year's eve. The bubbly beverage, and its many less expensive counterparts like prosecco, are integral to many people's New Year's festivities. But how much do you really know about this iconic beverage? Here are some fun facts about champagne we bet you've never heard:
- Champagne bottles used to be ticking time bombs. Back in the early days of champagne production, the process of fermentation was not particularly standardized, meaning that occasionally the pressure from too many carbon dioxide bubbles forming would cause bottles to explode. This earned champagne the nickname of "vin du diable", or the devil's wine. Nowadays, however, the danger of being injured by exploding glass from a champagne bottle is nearly nonexistent.
- Champagne is more popular in Africa than in Europe. The country that consumes the second-most champagne (after France, of course) is Nigeria. By 2017, experts estimate that the West African country will be spending upwards of $1 billion per year on champagne.
- Popping the cork isn't good for the drink. A lot of carbonation is wasted in the traditional cork pop, not to mention that the cork can put an eye out if not carefully directed. Instead of popping the cork, champagne aficionados recommend slowly loosening the cork by rotating the bottle underneath it until it comes out gradually.
- Chilling champagne in a bucket cools it faster than refrigerating it. It can take three or four hours to cool a bottle of champagne in the refrigerator, whereas it can be cooled in 20 minutes in an ice bucket full of ice and cold water (which cools more efficiently than ice by itself).