Isabell & 晴格格
眼睛累了不想看屏幕？在路上不方便阅读？您可以来听作者们为您朗读的这个博客喔！Don’t feel like reading? You don’t have to! Tune in to listen to our authors read you this blog.
English (Isabell) 英文原声 （伊莎）
Chinese （Qing）中文原声 （晴格格）
China really likes its Bubbles, but then again who doesn’t? the popping sound that the cork makes when it shoots out of the bottle is wonderful – it makes heads turn and brings smiles to everyone’s faces. What a treat it is to toast a cold glass of Champagne whether enjoyed at a celebration or just on a bright afternoon with your loved ones; but have you ever wondered how those bubbles stay perfectly bubbly in the bottle? I think the cork might have something to do with it…
中国人对起泡葡萄酒是真爱，但话说回来，气泡葡萄酒又不是谁的心头好呢？当软木塞从瓶子里射出时发出的砰然声响 – 它、令人转头，并为每一张面庞挂上微笑。无论是在庆祝活动中，还是在与您的爱人共度的一个美好的午后，享用一杯冰镇到恰到好处的香槟都是一种享受。但你有没有想过这些气泡如何在瓶子里保持完美？我认为这可能与软木有关…
A star is born
The bubbles, also known as effervescence, is the main contributing factor to the experience of drinking sparkling wines and champagnes. When a champagne cork is popped, yeasts ferment sugars and form carbon dioxide gas. However, Champagne, prosecco or sparkling wines would not exist without a cork, this seemingly simple invention makes it possible for everyone to enjoy this fizzy nectar, near or far! By the the end of the 17th Century, at a time in Europe when drinking wine or beer was safer than drinking water, using a cork was vital. Cork was first discovered in the Catalonia region in Spain, it was the pilgrims travelling on the Via Francigena, (the historic route from northern Europe leading to the Eternal City [Rome]), on their holy pilgrimages that began to spread the cork across Europe.
When did all this happen?
Pierre Perignon struck gold in 1688 when he started to use corks held in place with wire to seal bottles of his latest creation, Champagne. This bottle stopper was to become more and more vital to the wine and spirits industry from here on out. Up until the mid 1700’s, cork was harvested from trees that grew naturally, but its increasing use led to these Oak trees to being purposefully cultivated; they were harvested when the trees reach 20 years old, and then every 9 years after that. The cork tree is usually viable for about 150 years. For removing the bark from the trees, harvesters use a special hatchet, they cut into the bark vertically and horizontally – and we should mention here that cork farmers are always careful not to hurt the tree.
1688年皮埃尔·佩里尼翁（Pierre Perignon）开始使用金属丝固定的软木塞来封印他最新作品“香槟”（Champagne）的瓶子。从那时开始，这种瓶塞对于葡萄酒和烈酒行业越来越重要。直到1700年代中期，软木是从自然生长的树木中收获的，但是它的使用越来越多，使得人们需要有目的地种植这些橡树; 它们在树木达到20岁时开始收获，然后每隔9年收获一次。软木树通常可存活约150年。为了从树上取下树皮，收割机使用特殊的斧头，它们垂直和水平地切入树皮 – 我们应该在这里提到软木塞农民总是小心翼翼地工作以免伤到树。
How do they do that?
The wine industry today is just too big to furnish every bottle with a cork from the cork tree, you can walk into any wine shop and find alternative materials used as a cork; screw tops and cardboard tetra-packs are becoming more and more commonplace for table wines as well. But the cork industry is still very much alive and well for the Champagne, Prosecco and Sparkling wines industry worldwide. Making cork for these bottles happens in a factory nowadays, “…cork is placed in a steam chamber to soften it, then the slabs are cut into strips as wide as the intended bottle stoppers. The corks are then punched from the slab using hollow tubes. If a tapered shape is desired, they will be pared down using a machine with a blade that rotates at a very high speed. The corks washed, bleached and sterilized. They are then dried and stamped with an identifying label and may be treated with paraffin or silicone and then packed…” (https://www.corkway.com/articles/the-story-of-cork/)
The popular kid on the block
Champagne is not exactly new to China, in the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) during the reign of Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908), the first bottle of Champagne was brought to China by a French ambassador. Cixi was startled when the cork popped off and the liquid sprayed out. This must have undoubtedly caused quite a stir in the court back then, but it seems to have the same effect on people today. This popular drink is becoming more and more popular in China. People associate it with the ambition of seeking a better life, it is seen as the epitomy of modernity and fun. Hong Kong has shown itself to be a larger market for Champagne than the mainland, with 2016 sales reaching 71 million euros ($85 million). Fast forward to 2019 and the market has been more focused on quality rather than quantity. The younger generation in China are will to buy more expensive brands of bubbles to celebrate their important occasions. (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2018-01/10/content_35472406.htm)
So keep on enjoying those bubbles, but don’t forget the amazing innovations that go into that bottle of fizz you are holding, especially that cork!!