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Champagne makes life worth living

A man on the verge of committing suicide was persuaded to stay alive by a bottle of Moët & Chandon Champagne.

Earlier this week, police in Austria were alerted to someone threatening to leap off a 15-storey building. A negotiator reached the man, who then asked for a bottle of Champagne and two glasses. A bottle of Moët was sent up, and four hours later both men came down.

Jean Berchon, international PR director at Moët & Chandon, said, ‘it is another example of what the French describe as the civilising role of wine.’

Champagne connoisseur Tom Stevenson quoted Winston Churchill in response to the story: ‘In victory we deserve it, in defeat we need it’. He added, ‘it was a good job it wasn’t cheap sparkling wine.’

It has long been suspected that Champagne lightens the spirits more readily than still wine. Last year, researchers at England’s University of Surrey demonstrated that a couple of glasses of Champagne really do go to your head – and fast.

According to research leader and psychologist Fran Ridout, the giddy-making effects of Champagne are because the bubbles hasten the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.

‘Normally, we absorb 20% of any alcohol we drink in the stomach and the remainder in the intestines. One theory is that carbon dioxide in the bubbles somehow speeds the flow of alcohol into the intestines,’ she said.

Researchers found that those drinking two glasses of unadulterated Champagne averaged 0.7 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood after 40 minutes. The level in those who drank two glasses of flat Champagne (devoid of bubbles by whisking) reached 0.58mg.

It is not clear whether the man was given Dom Pérignon, Moët’s most prestigious marque, or a bottle of the house’s less-exclusive non-vintage.

Written by Liz Hughes22 August 2002

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