Toasting in the New Year when the clock strikes midnight

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A long-held tradition in many parts of the world is to toast in the New Year with a glass of champagne. Usually regarded as something to be drunk only on special occasions, champagne was once considered the reserve of the nobility and the wealthy.

Dating back to the 16th century, ‘fizzy’ champagne was just emerging from the wine regions of France. Before that, wine grown in the Champagne region, like others, was ‘still’. It was as a result of the fermentation process that a ‘fizzy’ wine was discovered. With greater access to the markets of Paris, England, and also Holland, Champagne’s geographical location gave the region an advantage over other wine-growing areas.

In due course, Dom Perignon managed to perfect bottling techniques, using a thicker glass and the now traditionally shaped cork, which was tied down. With improved bottling and clever marketing, advertising the drink as aspirational and not just for European aristocrats, sales improved. Between 1800 and 1850, yearly demand is thought to have grown from 300,000 to 20 million bottles.

In 1891, France established the legal right to the name ‘champagne’ to describe wine only grown in that region. All other regions have to use the term sparkling wine.

Evolving from a religious festival into a now wholly secular one, New Year’s Eve is traditionally celebrated with a glass of champagne. Here at H Cooper Glass Engravers we can offer a choice of engraved champagne glasses to toast in the New Year.

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