As one of the world's most popular brands of sparkling wine, Korbel Champagne has a good reputation among many wine enthusiasts. However, not everyone is aware of the company's long and interesting history or its array of available products.
History of Korbel Champagne Cellars
In the 1880s, three Czechoslovakian brothers started the business that would eventually become the leading producer of Champagne in the United States. Originally partners in the manufacturing of cigar boxes and the shipping of timber and wood veneers, Francis, Anton, and Joseph Korbel began operating a vineyard in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, California. By 1882, the brothers had begun to produce 30,000 gallons of wine annually. It was the start of a hugely successful business.
Most winemakers of the 1800s believed that it simply wasn't possible to produce a high-quality Champagne in California. The Korbel brothers set out to disprove this theory in 1884, hiring fellow Czechoslovakian Frank Hasek to oversee Champagne production for the company. Over the next decade, Hasek experimented with blending grape varieties to produce Champagne for the Korbel winery. By the close of the 19th century, even the most strident California Champagne doubters had to admit that Korbel Champagne was among the best.
In 1919, Prohibition outlawed the production and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States, and the Korbel brothers turned away from their wine business. The winery languished for several years, and it didn't regain its previous success even after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. The descendants of the Korbel brothers decided to sell the business in the 1950s.
Another set of brothers, Adolf, Ben, and Paul Heck, bought the Korbel business and transformed it into the successful name that it is today. The company is still owned and run by the Heck family.
Korbel is famous for being the Champagne served at the inaugural luncheons for several United States Presidents. In 2009, Korbel Champagne was served to honor President Barack Obama. Korbel creates a special "inaugural cuvee" for these functions, and the bottles feature an inaugural seal. This sparkling wine is marketed as "Korbel Natural" and is available at many wine shops.
Korbel has created these special Champagnes in honor of the following inaugurations:
- Ronald Reagan in 1985
- George H.W. Bush in 1989
- Bill Clinton in 1993 and 1997
- George W. Bush in 2001 and 2005
- Barack Obama in 2009
Korbel Product Line
Korbel makes a wide range of products to please just about any Champagne lover. Most of Korbel's offerings are perfect for the budget-conscious Champagne consumer and fall in the $10 to $30 price range.
The following are a few of Korbel's most popular products:
- Korbel Brut Rose is a fruity, medium-dry pink Champagne that's perfect for weddings and special occasions.
- Korbel Sec is the original Korbel Champagne, made the same way it was when the Korbel brothers founded the winery in the 1880s.
- Korbel Sweet Cuvee is a good option if you want an affordable sweet Champagne.
- Korbel Riesling Champagne might be a good choice if you like the bright flavors of Riesling wine.
- Korbel Reserve Blanc de Noirs is an extremely dry Champagne that is quite popular.
- Korbel Organic Brut is the wine maker's first all-organic Champagne and is made from certified-organic California grapes.
Where to Buy
You can buy Korbel Champagne at just about any wine shop. For the best selection, you may want to shop at Korbel's online store. There, you'll find a wide variety of products, including Champagne-of-the-month clubs and multi-packs. The online store can't legally ship to all states, so be sure you check whether your state is eligible before you shop.
If you need an affordable sparkling wine that is quintessentially American, you might consider a bottle of Korbel Champagne. With dozens of products to choose from, there's sure to be one that's right for you.