History of Champagne wine during the 18th century
Appearance of the first « Maisons »
In the early 18th century it was forbidden to transport bottled wine. Instead, the wine was dispatched while still in barrels together with detailed instruction to the customers for the bottling. On May 25th, 1728, a Royal decree authorized transportation of bottled wine in panniers of 50 to 100 bottles. 1729 sees the creation of the first “Maisons de Champagne” in Reims and Epernay.
Quality over quantity
From that period search for quality surpasses all other considerations. In a treatise on growing vines in Champagne, Brother Pierre, a monk at Abbeyd’Hautvillers, writes: "One must despise quantity which only produces very common wine and always aim for the quality that makes a lot more honor and profit."
The best grapes were selected, black and white, but the techniques remained imperfect.Losses were big and it was not until the 19th century that a wine with perfect clarity, regular and persistent foam is obtained.
The bottles which were called "flacon" and wore the arms of the consumers were reinforced to better withstand the pressure of the gas. They were fitted with a cork held by a string.
The birth of fashion
Champagne is immediately popular at the court of France. Already in 1700, the abbot of Chaulieu advises the Duchess of Bouillon to "drown the cares of the day in the foam that sparkles." Very soon, this craze is gaining intellectuals and artists in France and abroad. Voltaire writes: "This fresh wine sparkling foam is the living image of us French."