Graham Harding studied history at university and then built the biggest independent branding and marketing consultancy in the UK. Having cashed out, he went back to school, to research a doctoral thesis on the rise of champagne in Victorian England. Very appropriately, because that rise seems to have been driven almost exclusively by branding and marketing. What was originally a fault – re-fermentation that exploded barrels and was a liability in the cellar – became a feature that encapsulated gaiety and joi de vivre. And that got you drunker, quicker. From the all-seeing Dom Pérignon to the young bucks of London’s high society, champagne’s true history is absolutely intoxicating.
This is the first of two episodes in which Graham Harding pulled back the curtain on the myths that surround champagne.