Why is Champagne bubbly? The science might surprise you

Drop some science on your friends at your next holiday party.

Mar 1, 2020, 2:51 pm*

Internet Culture

BY TARA MASTROENI

Have you ever wondered what makes champagne bubbly? Sure you have. Our friends at Phys.org  got the scoop.  

One of the scientists told Phys.org, “The greatest theoretical significance of this work is to demonstrate, by extensive comparison with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and viscometry measurements, that the diffusion and viscosity in supersaturated multicomponent liquids such as Champagnes can be investigated at various temperatures by standard molecular dynamics simulations.”

Huh?

Translation: A bunch of scientists wanted an excuse to keep an excessive amount of booze in the lab fridge so they come up with important sounding language to fool the rest of us common folk into thinking this work is serious.

Regardless, we appreciate it. Here’s how it works:

First, yeast and sugar are added to flat wine to start a fermentation process

Once that happens, an excess of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is formed. The CO2 reacts with water an ethanol molecules in the wine to help spread the CO2 throughout the bottle.

When your pour the champagne, that CO2 gets trapped in the microscopic fibers left in your glass.

Usually, these fibers come from your dish towel. Gross to think about, but, remember, there’s Champagne at the end of this!

The CO2 bubbles grow inside of those fibers

Once they outgrow the fiber, they detach and float to the top of your glass for you to enjoy.

We’re sure that once the researchers completed their experiment, they made sure to “test the theory” several times over. We also heard (not really) that during the scientist’s research, multiple noise complaints were called in to the local police by the laboratory’s neighbors. Something about “an orgy” and “half naked men in lab coats” running around on the lawn yelling “Eureka!”

For science!


Photo by Didricks/Flickr (CC by 2.0)

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*First Published: Dec 12, 2014, 4:30 pm