Samuel Goldwyn Serving ‘A Year in Champagne’ in 2015

Samuel Goldwyn Films has bought North American rights to David Kennard’s documentary “A Year in Champagne” with plans for an early spring release.

Kennard’s follow-up to “A Year in Burgundy” screened at the Santa Barbara and Palm Beach International Film Festivals.

The film features behind-the-scenes footage at six Champagne houses, including Saint-Chamant, Gosset and Bollinger.

“Champagne is a beverage that people immediately associate with luxury and celebration and the film pays tribute to the region and people who make this very special wine,” said said Peter Goldwyn. “David takes the viewer on an incredible journey and delivers a vibrant, inside look at the complex world of champagne production.”

The deal was negotiated by Ian Puente and executive producer Todd Ruppert.

Goldwyn’s current titles include Freida Mock’s documentary “Anita,” William H. Macy’s feature directorial debut “Rudderless” and “The Last of Robin Hood.”

Hard decision to make

3 Tricks to Remedy a Wine Headache

I used to get a wine headache it seemed with every glass of red wine. As much as I prayed it was a fluke and that I wouldn’t fall victim to the infamous Red Wine Headache (RWH), with every drink, after about an hour, my head would start throbbing. Does this sound like you or someone you know who refuses delicious wine in order to save themselves a headache? Well, as it turns out there are several things that could cure you. There are also a very small number of people who are incurable and life will suck for them for reasons other than just wine.

I’m hoping you found this article in the stack of articles on red wine headaches, because chances are there are only 3 things you need to do to fix your problem.

3 Tricks to Remedy a Wine Headache

#1 Drink a Glass of Water With Every Glass of Wine.

The most common mistake that wine drinkers make is hydration. It’s easy to forget because you are drinking already. When there’s wine involved hydration is key and water is what you need. Make it a habit to chug a glass of water prior to enjoying a glass of wine. It may stress your waiter out but your forehead will appreciate you.

#2 Take “Two” Asprin Before Drinking.

By “two” I mean two aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen. This is not recommended if you drink heavily, however if you’re like me and just want to enjoy a glass of wine without the ensuing headache, it’s reasonable to de-crud your blood with some over-the-counter blood thinners. The pills are also a great way to force yourself to drink a glass of water. Since I’m suggesting over-the-counter-drugs and I’m not your doctor, be sure to consult your doctor first. If you are uncomfortable with this idea, skip to trick #3 and repeat trick #1.

#3 Don’t Eat Sugary Things with Wine.

The only thing worse than a red wine headache is a cake-and-wine headache. Confetti cake sounds particularly amazing (especially after a glass of wine), however the combination of sugar and alcohol will greatly exacerbate the potential for a headache. If you are sensitive to wine, reserve confetti cake for your midnight coffee-and-cake binges only and stave off the dessert desire while drinking wine.

When I started drinking wine I got a lot of headaches. As it turns out, my wine choices (of cheapo grocery store wine) may have contributed to the reaction. Poorly made wines tend to have more adulteration such as residual sugar, sulfur, fining agents or higher alcohol to make them taste better. If it comes from a box or has a critter on the label then it’s suspect for headache potential.
“If it comes from a box or has a critter on the label then it’s suspect for headache potential.”

MYTH: Sulfites in Wine Cause Headaches

Back in the 1980s the food and drug administration discovered that about 1% of the population was allergic to sulfites. Because of the health concern for the sensitive population, wines above 20 ppm (parts per million) must be labeled with “contains sulfites”. Sulfites are found naturally on grapes and sulfur is also commonly added in small amounts at the beginning of fermentation and prior to bottling. Typically red wines have about 50-350 ppm and white wines have more, about 250-450 ppm (because of extreme sensitivity to light, heat and discoloration). The general litmus test for sulfites sensitivity is dried fruit. Mangos and apricots contain about 4-10 times as many (1000-3000 ppm) sulfites.

FACT: Histamines Cause Inflammation

Dr. Freitag from the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago originally wrote an article about how histamines may be the culprit in causing red wine headaches(1). Foods that have been fermented or aged have higher levels of histamines such as tofu, tempeh, champagne, red wine, ketchup and aged meats. Histamines can cause inflammatory flushing and wakefulness at night. Since most histamines are a cause of allergic reactions (similar to hay-fever), taking an anti-histamine prior to drinking may solve the problem. An ancient Chinese cure calls for black or oolong tea to reduce swelling(2).

THEORY: Sensitivity to Tannins

Tannin is what gives a red wine pigment, bitterness and that mouth-drying reaction. It also is what makes red wines last a long time. Many red wine headache sufferers point to tannin as the problem because white wines contain much less. The tannin comes from the skins, seeds and stems of a grape and also from wood. Many commercial wines also add tannins from commercial refined sources made from chestnut, Indian gooseberry, gambir leaf and the wood of a very dense dark-wooded Spanish tree called Quebracho(1). The problem with the tannin argument is that chocolate, tea and soy are also all very high in tannin, so it begs the question “If you do not react to tannin in tea, why would you react to tannin in wine?”


Were Champagne glasses were modeled on Marie Antoinette’s breasts?

Woman-in-Champagne-GlassThe search for amusing bits of trivia to trot out at cocktail parties leads many to the misbelief that the saucer-shaped champagne glass was modeled on a famed beauty’s breast. Over the years, this claim has been made of a number of women:

Marie Antoinette (1755-1793): This narcissistic French queen (wife of Louis XVI and What a pair! of apocryphal “Let them eat cake!” fame) was said to have had champagne glasses fashioned from casts of her breasts so courtiers could drink to her health from them.

Madame du Pompadour (1721-1764): This mistress of France’s Louis XV supposedly had the glasses crafted as a special gift for her imperial lover who it was said greatly admired her breasts and longed to be able to drink champagne from them.

Madame du Barry (1743-1793): The same story told about du Pompadour is also told of du Barry, another mistress of France’s Louis XV.
Empress Josephine (1763-1814): This wife of Napoleon had a great fondness for the bubbly (her champagne bills were said to have horrified her husband), so it’s not surprising this legend would attach to her.

Diane de Poitiers (1499-1566): This mistress of Henry II was said to have commissioned a glassblower at their Chateau d’Anet to make them as a present to Henry, who was particularly enamored of her breasts and harbored a fantasy to drink wine from them. In another version of the tale, Henry was the one who came up with this idea, and the mold was solely of her left breast.

Helen of Troy: Helen was said to possess “the face that launched a thousand ships,” a reference to her husband, Menelaus, coming after her and her lover, Paris, with a force of thousands. It is said Paris made wax molds of her breasts, then used those molds as forms for drinking glasses.
None of the “famed beauty’s breast” tales hold up. Champagne was invented in the 17th century when a Benedictine monk discovered a way to trap bubbles of carbon dioxide in wine. As for the glass, it was designed and made in England especially for champagne around 1663, a chronology that rules out du Barry, du Pompadour, Josephine, and Marie Antoinette, all of whom were born long after the coupe came into existence. As for de Poitiers, she died a century before either the glass or the beverage was invented. And if she existed at all, Helen of Troy antedated both champagne and the champagne glass by about two millennia.

No one knows how this rumor began, but a good guess would be someone’s drunken observations on the shape of the glass coupled with a dollop of male fantasy sparked it off.

The coupe is further associated with ladies’ breasts by the oft-repeated claim that prospective members of the Folies Bergere dance troupe were subjected to a champagne glass test — a coupe fit over their naked breasts determined who was eligible. Provided the young ladies’ charms remained within the glass, they were still in the running; if their natural wonders overflowed, it was, well, tough titties for them.

Popularity and salacious lore aside, the coupe is not the glass of choice for champagne connoisseurs. Fans of the grape swear that the best glasses to tipple from are flutes, which are tall and thin with lips that curve inward slightly at the top. Flutes concentrate the bubbles and the bouquet, heightening the champagne experience. Coupes encourage the wine to warm and go flat quickly.


Champagne facts about bubbles

There are approximately 49 million bubbles in a standard sized bottle of Champagne.

Large bubbles are considered extremely unsightly and are not the mark of good quality Champagne. The tinier the bubble the better.

Champagne has three times the gas content of beer! It emits 30 bubbles per second!

For the best bubbles in your bubbly, hold the glass at an angle while you fill it.

For every carbon dioxide molecule that turns into a bubble in a glass of champagne, 4 others escape into the air.

A standard champagne bottle contains about 6 times its volume in dissolved carbon dioxide gas, which is responsible for the liquid’s fizz.

If you open a bottle of champagne & there’s a loud pop then you’ve actually lost bubbles.

Each champagne bubble carries tens of aromatic compounds — compounds that appear in heavier concentrations in bubbles than in the liquid champagne itself.

Opening Champagne – if you can remove the wire in 5 & a half twists, you are about to open a top quality bottle.

Moet is the number one selling brand of champagne in the world.

The world’s largest champagne glass, stands nearly 7 ft tall and holds the equivalent of 22 regular bottles. Now that’s a big glass of bubbly!


The Story of Champagne

champagne-pommery-basementDid you know the bubbles in Champagne were first considered a flaw?

Early winemakers of the Champagne region of France didn’t want effervescent wine. They considered bubbles a defect, a corruption of the still, fizz-free wine they were trying to make.

These bothersome bubbles came about unintentionally. The weather was the culprit. Being so far north, the temperature in Champagne sometimes turned too cool too soon, stopping the fermentation process short.

Once placed into bottles, this partially fermented wine became little glass time-bombs. When temperatures warmed up again in the spring, fermentation rebooted–only this time inside the bottle. The build-up of carbon dioxide (a byproduct of fermentation) created intense pressure inside the bottles and turned the tranquil cellars of Champagne into war zones of exploding bottles–and presumably led to a tremendous boon for the eye patch industry around Reims.

Of course, when the bottles didn’t burst, this secondary fermentation created bubbles, which were released harmlessly when the bottles were uncorked.

Faced with a potentially defective product, there was only one thing to do: call in the marketers! The marketing pros took what was essentially a flaw and turned it into a fabulous selling point! They positioned Champagne as a fun, festive wine. Today, of course, the very word “Champagne” is practically a synonym for celebration.

And job one for the marketers of Champagne? No doubt it was to build a better bottle, one that wouldn’t explode shards of glass into customers’ faces! (Such a thing was not considered particularly festive even by early marketing standards.) You’ll notice that today’s sparkling wines come in thick, unexploding glass bottles.

Making It Bubbly

In this way, Champagne signals the first modern wine, certainly the first mass-marketed wine. It also requires quite the industrial process. To produce Champagne, or sparkling wine, in modern times, a syrupy sugar mixture (dosage de tirage) is added to still wine to ensure a reliable secondary fermentation in the bottle. This secondary fermentation creates sediment called lees (dead yeast cells), which settle and collect in the neck of the bottle (the bottles are placed tilting forward). After a time, the bottles are uncorked, the lees are removed, and the bottles are topped off with a dosage d’expedition–a splash of extra wine to fill the gap. The lees give flavor. When disgorged, there will likely not be further quality development. So the more “time on lees” the better.

As you can see, the process of making champagne is time consuming and requires a lot of labor. And that’s the rub! Good champagne is usually pretty pricey. Excellent champagne can be stratospheric–truly the stuff for special occasions.

The Grapes that Make Champagne

Another interesting thing about Champagne is it is often made with black grapes. Specifically, Pinot Noir (also Meunier). Often Champagne is a blend of both white and black grapes. When only black or only white grapes are used, the label will let you know:

Champagne made with only black grapes will be labeled blanc de noir (white from black).
Blanc de blanc (white from white) means the grapes are all white grapes, specifically Chardonnay.
Interestingly, a blanc de noir wine does not mean it will be rosé in color. The wine might be a little more golden than a blanc de blanc, but it will still be white. Rosé champagne gets its color from still red wine being added to the bottle.

The Size of Your Bubbles

When it comes to bubbles, size does seem to matter. Small bubbles generally suggest better quality in a sparkling wine. Larger bubbles can indicate that the wine was fermented in a giant vat instead of inside the bottle according to the dictates of the vaunted Champagne method. Done correctly, you will find millions upon millions of tiny bubbles in each bottle.


How to Serve Champagne

ServingWhen it comes to toasting a special event or occasion, everyone usually heads for the champagne. Sure, you can toast with wine, beer, cocktails or soda, but using the bubbly denotes that it’s special. Most people call any kind of sparkling wine champagne, but true champagne comes from the region in France known for producing the best sparkling wines on Earth. The region, not surprisingly, is named Champagne. The climate, soil and strict production regulations in Champagne ensure that the quality of sparkling wine there is unmatched. Because of the delicate nature of champagne and the occasions where it’s typically served, it requires a little more than plastic cups or beer mugs to do it right.

The Chill
Serving champagne at the proper temperature is essential. There are some different schools of thought and preferences, but generally speaking, champagne should be served at a temperature between 39 and 48 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 9 degrees Celsius). Non-vintage and sweeter champagnes can take the lower side of that scale, but a fine champagne should hover between 43 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit (6 to 7 degrees Celsius). A wine refrigerator is the best way to get an exact temperature, but a couple of hours in a regular refrigerator should get you close to where you need to be. You can also fill a wine bucket with half ice and half water for a 30-minute rapid chill. Remember to always leave the bottle corked until it’s time to serve.

The Flute
A beer mug or plastic cup might be an easier way to serve a drink to a roomful of people, but it isn’t the preference when serving champagne. If you want to do it right, you’ll want to splurge a little and use the tall, skinny and easily breakable flutes. The stem is long and they can be a bit precarious, but if it’s just for a toast, you don’t need to worry about your guests managing the delicate flute all night. If you don’t have long-stemmed flutes, you can get away with a tulip-shaped wine glass. The reason champagne is served in a flute is because the design of the glass strengthens the aromas of the wine and aids the flow of bubbles, a key aspect of drinking sparkling wines. And while the bubbly is served chilled, champagne flutes should always remain at room temperature.

The Pour
After you’ve uncorked your champagne, which is best to do aimed away from people and glass, it’s time for the pour. Champagne is extremely bubbly, and the last thing you want to do is pour it so that it flows over the glass and onto your guest. Start with just a little in the bottom and let the bubbles die down. Then fill the glass about two-thirds full with a steady, even pour.


Champagne Corks travel at 25 mph

Champagne corks pop out of the bottle at the speed of 25 miles per hour. A team of German scientists discovered this after shaking a bottle of downloadchampagne. According to their calculations, it’s theoretically possible that corks fly at 62 miles per hour.
This speed is not surprising considering the pressure in the champagne bottle is twice as high as in a tyre, namely six bar.
So be careful when you open a bottle. Always keep your thumb on the cork when you remove the muselet (wire basket).
Only when a bottle has been cooled in the fridge and hasn’t been shaken is there hardly any pressure and you don’t have to worry about the speed of the cork. .