Cleve and Gloria Crudgington are the landlords of a group of vintage bungalows in Monrovia, California. During her childhood, Mrs Crudgington’s uncle had been tragically killed at a wedding reception when the cork from a bottle of champagne he had been trying to open struck him in the face.
To prevent his wife from twitching nervously every time the Crudgingtons gathered with their tenants to quaff bubbly, in 1985 Cleve went shopping for a safety champagne opener and discovered that there was no such device.
With a friend, Mr Crudgington quickly built a prototype and patented it. He then commissioned a local craftsman to machine a sturdier version out of two blocks of steel. Cleve then discovered that the huge California wine merchants Gallo had been searching for just such a device to help millions of nervous or limp-wristed clients to open bottles of their delightful sparkling ‘André’ wine.
He went to see them. Unfortunately, although they were impressed and wanted to order 40,000, making them in metal was too expensive for the market. They had to be plastic.
Mr Crudgington went back to the drawing board and, after spending four months and $35,000 of his own money, managed to come up with a design in plastic that worked. In 1986, he took it back to Gallo, only to discover they’d had a corporate shake up and dropped their plans for a safety champagne opener.
Undaunted, Cleve pressed on and has since built up a successful business by word-of-mouth and the Internet.
There are 250 million bubbles in the average bottle of Champagne, according to research funded by Moet et Chandon.
I'm only a beer teetotaller, not a champagne teetotaller.
The first item purchased in Euros was a bottle of champagne, bought by the head of VISA using a VISA card.
Sparkling champagne is commonly thought to have originated in France, but this is not quite the case. The first French document to mention it was written in 1718, and details the emergence of sparkling champagne 20 years earlier. The first ever-documented mention of champagne in any language is an English text from 1676. At that time, the English used to import French wines in casks and then add sugar and molasses to create champagne. The thin, green wines from the Champagne region were an ideal base for this.
Dom Perignon, on first sampling his champagne is said to have exclaimed: 'Come quickly, brothers, I am drinking stars'. However it is generally believed that he spent most of his time trying to remove the bubbles that appeared naturally in the wine, as these were considered a fault.
Chekhov’s last words were 'I haven’t had champagne for a long time.' German medical etiquette of the time demanded that, when there was no hope, the doctor would offer the patient a glass of champagne.
Table tennis was originally played with balls made from champagne corks.
Two of the villages in the Champagne region of France are called Dizzy and Bouzy.
Champagne for my real friends, and real pain for my sham friends.
A loophole allows Americans to call their sparkling wines ‘champagne’. In 1891, the Treaty of Madrid decreed that only the Champagne region was allowed to use that name; the rule was reaffirmed in the Treaty of Versailles, 1919. However, the US never ratified the Treaty of Versailles, instead they signed a separate peace agreement with Germany. This did not include the alcohol stipulations, as the US was in the midst of Prohibition at the time. When Prohibition was lifted, American wine-merchants took advantage of this loophole, freely selling their own ‘Champagne’, much to the chagrin of the French industry.
The Benedictine monk Dom Perignon (1638 - 1715) did not invent champagne: in fact he spent most of his time trying to remove the bubbles from the wine he is (wrongly) credited with inventing.
Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!