During the Middle Ages, it was monks who improved on winemaking methods. Because of the northerly climate, there was a tendency for wines to stop fermenting in the cold winter months and then restart their fermentation in the spring. This was long considered a serious fault of the Champagne region, and many church winemakers worked hard at trying to solve this problem.
One such monk, Dom Pierre Pérignon, spent his entire life revolutionizing the methods used to make Champagne. His innovations included lowering yields, harvesting during cooler temperatures, delicate pressing of the grapes, and blending wine from different communes. He also championed the use of heavy glass bottles and cork stoppers, both of which help conserve the bubbles.
Dom Pérignon and his colleagues at the abbey of Hautvillers sold their wine to customers from royal circles and the aristocracy, even to the king. The oldest commercial company to sell Champagne, however, was established by Nicolas Ruinart in 1729.
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