Why, how and when to drink champagne? A leading champagne expert answers our fizziest questions.

Bernadette O’Shea, a name synonymous with champagne in Australia and France is a consultant and educator, winner of the Vin de Champagne award, and a recipient of a French government knighthood. Her wonderful book Champagne & Chandeliers is a must-read.

Here she answers our fizziest questions.

Why drink champagne Bernadette?

Bernadette O’Shea (BOS): Because it is joyful, happy, full of spirit, magnificence and euphoria.  It expresses every mood and speaks every language.

Can I drink champagne in the morning? 

BOS: Yes of course any time of the day or night!   In any season and for any reason. It will sparkle its way into all the best moments of your life and is the happiest form of inspiration.

Is it true champagne is good for you? 

BOS: It is the best drink for your health.  It goes through a double fermentation and is the purest alcoholic drink.  It also lifts your heart and soul.

Which champagne should we sip if on a beer-budget? 

BOS: You can buy many well-priced champagnes.  Choose non-vintages that fall way below the $100 mark but still reflect a House style and are the DNA of the House. So reliable and so good are Pol Roger, Bollinger, Moet & ChandonVeuve ClicquotMumm, and Taittinger, all available from BWS at Forrest Chase.

Is it ok to drink champagne with a meal, or is it to accompany canapes only? 

BOS: It is perfect with a complete meal and matches most foods.  Champagne brings texture and mouth aroma to food. Its high acidity tones down fat and salt and reduces excessive sweetness.   Its effervescence degreases the tastebuds while adding elegance and height to heavy foods. It has exquisite nuances and leaves the palate so refreshed and stimulated.

Which foods pair especially well with champagne?

BOS: Try ocean trout, tempura prawns, parmesan cheese, macadamia nuts, duck or salmon pate. You can find all of these at Woolworths, Forrest Chase.

Should we only sip champagne out of flutes?

BOS: There are slightly larger tulip-shaped glasses that are perfect, and many people are drinking their vintages from a Riesling style glass. Riedel and Plumm from Myer Forrest Chase make fantastic champagne glasses.

What is your favourite champagne quote? 

BOS: The wonderful Oscar Wilde once said, “Other people drink champagne to make themselves feel better, but I drink champagne to make other people look better.”

Is there the perfect occasion to drink champagne?

The best occasion to drink champagne is all occasions. Just by opening a bottle and pouring a glass, one creates the occasion!

Thank you and cheers Bernadette.

BOS: My pleasure. Big bubbly hugs to you.