It’s common to see the act of spraying champagne to celebrate a victory on the racing podium. Indeed, this tradition happened for the first time by complete accident.
text: T Chan
話說香檳與賽車比賽的第一次“ 邂逅”是在1950年， 那一場格蘭披治恰好在法國香檳區舉行，當時的F1名宿胡安·曼努埃爾·范吉奧為慶祝奪冠，就把一瓶由保羅酩悅所贈的酩悅香檳以軍刀開之。（相傳拿破崙到訪香檳區，在馬背上用軍刀開瓶，這個習俗流傳下來，就變成了所謂的Sabrage。）說回來，那次開瓶方式雖然狂野，之後卻是斯文地把香檳分與隊友及對手喝之，並沒有發生香檳雨噴射群眾的場面。
丹甘利就此成為了香檳雨的發明者。而從那以後，包括F1在內，所有汽車賽事的頒獎台上，香檳雨已成為一個極重要的慶祝儀式。而在 1950 年被送到 F1 頒獎台上的酩悅香檳，從那一年開始到2000年，整整半個世紀都一直是香檳雨的主要原料。直到2001年，瑪姆香檳由於提供了不俗的贊助費，所以從酩悅手上取得賽車大會指定香檳的資格，直至2015年，當大會覺得瑪姆的500萬歐元贊助費並不足夠，而瑪姆也不願意再於這價格上加碼的時候，合作就告一段落。之後一年再由酩悅取得大會指定香檳資格，卻不知為甚麽，他們竟然提供不在香檳區生產的次級Chandon汽泡酒，對於F1這人類最高汽車運動賽事來說，連香檳都不算的這款起泡酒實在有失大體，所以合作一年後，大會指定香檳資格就再落在卡本香檳身上。於 2017 年匈牙利站首次亮相的3升裝2009 卡本香檳叫價3,000美元一瓶，也就是超過20,000元人民幣。值不值得的問題要問老饕才知道， 但香檳的最大噱頭則是其瓶身包裹著一層特殊的“ 碳纖維布”，而這種材料也正是用於制造賽車的原材料之一。工匠們需耗費整整一周的時間才能制造出一瓶香檳的“ 外衣”，絕對是賽車及香檳愛好者買來炫富的最佳收藏品，好不好喝已是次要。
The connection of auto racing with champagne itself dates back to 1950, when the French Grand Prix was held at the Gueux circuit in Reims, the Champagne region. The legendary Juan Manuel Fangio won and was first given a bottle of Moët & Chandon by Paul Chandon Moët. He sabered the bottle (some said it was Napoleon who first put sword to bottle on horseback when he visited the Champagne region. This custom was passed down and called sabrage.) and shared the champagne to his teammates and opponents without spraying it.
This custom of having champagne on the victory podium had spread. Until 1966, upon winning the race, Swiss driver Jo Siffert accidentally sprayed the crowd as the bottle of champagne had been sitting out in the sun, causing pressure to build up inside the magnum, which inspired another American racer Dan Gurney. He deliberately copied Siffert’s gesture the next year when he won the same race. He swayed the Moët & Chandon on hand and sprayed everyone around him, including his teammates, opponents, staff and audience. Interestingly, Dan Gurney drove the Ford GT40, and Henry Ford II, head of Ford Motor Company, was on the podium and got sprayed also.
Dan Gurney became the inventor of champagne spraying. Since then, champagne showers have been an important way to celebrate a victory on the racing podium, including Formula One. Moët & Chandon was the official champagne sponsor to Formula One from 1950 to 2000. In 2001, GH Mumm made a big sponsorship and became the sponsor of the races. By 2015, the organizing committee thought the EUR 5 million sponsorship fee was not enough, then GH Mumm ceased the sponsorship as it was not willing to pay extra sponsorship fee. The next year Moët & Chandon became the sponsor once again. However, they provided the sparkling wine which was not produced in the Champagne region. Therefore after a year, Cabernet Sauvignon became the official sponsor. The 3 liter 2009 Champagne Carbon, which debuted in the Hungary stop in 2017, costing USD 3,000 per bottle, which is more than RMB 20,000. Each and every bottle is coated with the same type of carbon fibre used in the manufacture of the championship’s racing cars. It took a week for craftsmen to make the lavishly polished bottle. It is definitely the best collection for racing and champagne lovers.