Have you ever wondered how champagne is made?

Champagne is a sparkling wine only produced in the region of France bearing the same name. There are strict rules in place regarding the production of champagne, including the type of grapes that are used, where they were grown, and the process itself. These rules were put in place by the CIVC to protect producers and preserve the integrity of the product.
Although widely celebrated now, champagne was originally regarded as failed wine because of the carbonation. This occurred when the grapes grown in the region were harvested later in the year and the cold temperature stopped the fermentation process before the yeast on the skin of the grapes could be converted into sugar. When a second fermentation occurred in spring, it produced carbon dioxide in the bottles, thereby creating sparkling wine.
Dom Perignon created many of the techniques that are still used today to make champagne. He was responsible for exploring blending and even came up with the method of using black grapes to create white wine. One of his most notable accomplishments was actually changing the bottles champagne was made in. The original ones were too weak and could explode when carbonation occurred. As a result, he chose stronger English bottles and Spanish cork.
To make champagne, you start out by selecting the base wine. The producer needs to decide on both the grape (or blend of grapes) that will be used and the vineyard they were grown in. This is crucial because it will determine the taste.
Once the base is chosen, you need to move on to the assemblage. This is the core of all great champagne and is the process used to blend the still white wine. Several different processes are used to do this. A short period of fermentation will occur during this stage.
The third step is known as triage. It is a second period of fermentation when sugar, yeast and yeast nutrients are added to the assemblage. This is then bottled and stored in a cool cellar. The triage will ferment slowly over several months, producing both carbon dioxide and alcohol.
Once the yeast cells die, the fermentation process is complete, but champagne is left in the cellar to age after this period. The ageing can take a number of years and allows the yeast cells to split, creating a more complex flavour and toasty characteristics.
Once ageing is complete, the yeast needs to be removed before the champagne can be consumed. The technique used to do this is called riddling, and involves turning the bottles upside down at a 75 degree angle so the yeast gets caught in the neck of the bottle. A riddler is responsible for turning each bottle a small amount every day, giving the process time to take place.
The sixth step is the process of removing the yeast from the bottle. This is known as disgorging. The neck of the bottle is frozen so a yeast and wine plug forms. When the cap is removed, the pressure of the carbon dioxide will force the frozen plug out. This is what gives the technique its name.
After this, the dosage is added: a special mix of white wine, sugar and brandy. This tops off the bottle and adjusts the sweetness of the champagne to suit the required taste.
To finish, the bottle is corked and wired down. This secures it and allows the pressure of the carbon dioxide to build again so you get the traditional pop when it is time to open the bottle and serve the champagne.