In the late 1630s, Pierre Pérignon was born, and he went on to become a monk, earning the title Dom Pérignon. At the age of 18, he was assigned to manage the cellars at St. Peter Abbey in the Hautvillers commune in France, where he remained until his death in 1715. These days, Dom Pérignon is a household name, but it’s not because of the man. How exactly did that happen?

There’s a lot of hearsay around Mr. Pérignon, mainly due to the fact that his work was later sensationalized for promotional marketing purposes. Contrary to popular belief, he wasn’t blind, he didn’t invent sparkling wine, nor did he ever necessarily say, “Come quickly! I’m drinking the stars!” But his revelations and practices were hugely influential nonetheless.

There are a lot of things Pérignon perfected that we take for granted today. He was revolutionary in the way that he planted, pruned, and cared for his vines. He warned wine growers about the risk of crushing grapes while harvesting, and advocated for shielding grapes from the sun while they were on their way to the press. He even made massive leaps in the practice of clarifying wine. As for the advent of sparkling Champagne, however, we can actually thank the English for that one.

On this episode of “Wine 101,” Keith debunks the myths around the most famous monk in wine and sheds some light on this pivotal moment in Champagne’s history. Tune in for more.

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“Wine 101” was produced, recorded, and edited by yours truly, Keith Beavers, at the VinePair headquarters in New York City. I want to give a big old shout-out to co-founders Adam Teeter and Josh Malin for creating VinePair. Big shout-out to Danielle Grinberg, the art director of VinePair, for creating the most awesome logo for this podcast. Also, Darby Cicci for the theme song. And I want to thank the entire VinePair staff for helping me learn something new every day. See you next week.

*Image retrieved from Delphotostock via