Science proved she was right!


My grandmother used to say she needed a glass of champagne a day to be happy! While it amuses me to prescribe this cure to anyone a bit blue, part of me knows that it must be true. Grandma lived quite a life, not to mention her many years of experience and savoir-faire - personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Prince Turn und Taxis and David Ogilvy were some of the many guests at her famous open-house parties.

Hence my excitement when I read an article about champagne on the science and philosophy digital magazine Aeon. Robert Zenit, a researcher, professor of engineering and member of the American Physical Society, and Javier Rodrigues Rodrigues ( no, I'm not seeing double, that's his name, don't blame it on the bubbly! ) an associate professor of fluid mechanics at Carlos III University of Madrid, explained why we so enjoy a glass of champers, and guess what? Grandmother was right!

If you think of celebrating any happy occasion, the first thing that comes to your mind is making a toast with champagne, isn’t it? Why is a drink that sets in motion “a series of micro explosions in your mouth” so enjoyable?

The Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon came up with ways to improve the production and quality of the bubbly drink in the 17th century. One could think of Dom Pérignon (the monk, not the brand) as the Patron Saint of parties, having saved not only gatherings but also some marriages too! He worked during years to perfect a bottle and cork that would withstand the high pressure of the gas produced during the fermentation of sparkling wine. It is this same gas that forms the bubbles that rise to the surface of your glass, bringing up the aroma of the fabulous drink.

And speaking of bubbles, did you know that there is a science behind the shape of your champagne glasses? Read here which is the best glass for bubbly champers, coupe, flûte or tulip?

But back to the physics of happiness and champagne.

Recent studies have shown that the interaction of carbon dioxide gas in sparkling wine with certain enzymes in our saliva causes a chemical reaction that stimulates some pain receptors. This reaction, called "carbonation bite", is something we, humans, enjoy. The bubbles also affect our perception of flavour and the rate at which the body assimilates alcohol. In other words, the bubbles in your drink make things tastier, and make you tipsy faster, who wouldn't feel happier after a glass or two?

Personally, I don't need science to explain to me why champagne contributes to happiness; I trust my grandmother, but it's always good to have one more excuse to crack open the champers;)