Champagne is a French sparkling wine. Many people use the term Champagne as a generic term for sparkling wine, but in the EU and some other countries, it is illegal to label any product Champagne unless it comes from the Champagne wine region of France and is produced under the rules of the appellation. This alcoholic drink is produced from specific types of grapes grown in the Champagne region following rules that demand, among other things, specific vineyard practices, sourcing of grapes exclusively from designated places within the Champagne region, specific grape-pressing methods and secondary fermentation of the wine in the bottle to cause carbonation.
The grapes Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay are primarily used to produce almost all Champagne, but small amounts of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Arbane, and Petit Meslier are vinified as well. Only these specific grapes grown according to appellation rules on designated plots of land within the appellation may be used to make Champagne.
Champagne became associated with royalty in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The leading manufacturers made efforts to associate their Champagnes with nobility and royalty through advertising and packaging, which led to its popularity among the emerging middle class.