Why Do We Drink Champagne on New Year’s Eve?

31st December 2021

Why Champagne for New Year

In amongst sing songs, party foods, Big Ben, fireworks and even bringing traditions such as salt, coal and bread through the front door we will undoubtedly see plenty of alcohol enjoyed by many when it comes to celebrating the New Year.

One such drink that we can all associate with New Year celebrations is sparkling wine and specifically Champagne which will see over 25% of its annual sales purchased so to be enjoyed during the week of Christmas & the New Year. From restaurants to street parties, sat cosy on the sofa to that once in a lifetime Ney Year luxury holiday location – Champagne bottles will be popping and glasses of bubbly enjoyed.

360 million – approximate glasses of Sparking Wine or Champagne consumed in the United States on New Year’s Eve.” source Vino Outloud

Why Champagne at New Year?

Today we very much associate Champagne with celebrations such as for birthday parties or winning such as F1 podium or Premiership Title Winners etc. Maybe because it is the bubbles in the wine that makes Champagne that bit more appealing including cork popping, but why shouldn’t we celebrate the New Year with a Bordeaux or Burgundy which have equal status in the wine industry?

The story mostly goes back to the 16th Century and where it is said that most European Aristocrats would choose Champagne at their Royal Parties and other important celebrations. Then, Champagne was an expensive wine which only the rich and top elites could afford to enjoy.

The novelty of Champagne at parties always improves the atmosphere. From the glamour of the bottle, twisting the cage and popping the cork (dare I say some Champagne spray too) and then pouring those bubbles in to the glass makes Champagne a hit at any celebration event.Christopher Walkey

As the tradition continued, and knowledge spread, more and more people copied the ritual of using Champagne to celebrate and be it that it was back then a costly wine the purchase of it only took place for very important times such as New Year celebrations.

During this time the Champagne houses were clever enough to recognise the growing tradition being adopted so they embraced it within their own marketing to push sales for important dates in the calendar. In later years Champagne Houses would always be seen to advertise heavily leading up to Christmas and continued to expand their reach out to sponsoring events such as sports that involved winning / celebrations.


Title image: Pixabay

Christopher Walkey

Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.