Champagne is one of France`s many gifts to civilisation. It is more than a drink, it is an institution: whenever people gather together on high occasion, the ritual popping of corks is heard, and formal glasses, filled with the "drink divine", are tinkled in unison. Yet, in according Champagne its place of honour at celebrations, perhaps the social world has done it a disservice: so closely is it associated with the launching of ocean liners and newly married couples, that its exceptional qualities as a fine wine tend to be forgotten.
In writing this history of Champagne, André Simon deals fully with the fascinating social aspects, but he also presents Champagne as a noble wine in its own right, worthy to rank with the best. He tells the story of the growth of the Champagne industry from its origins to the present day, tracing its fluctuating fortunes through several centuries of social and economic change; and he shows how Champagne has consistently maintained its eminence, thanks to the integrity, loving care and traditional skill that go into its making.