Champagne, Fashion, and Racing: Melbourne Cup in a Nutshell

Spring racing carnivals are all about glitz, fashion, and alcohol. Although the horse race is also important, if we are being honest, most people go to the races in order to dress up and drink Champagne or wine.

It begs the question… When did alcohol become so important to spring racing season?

On cup day last year, racegoers drank 46,570 bottles of Champagne. In addition, the wine and beer consumed on race day and the total amount of alcohol consumed are staggering.

We look back at the history behind the race that stopped the nation and how it was the biggest wine and champagne sales week in the year, surpassing New Year’s Eve as well as the Grand Final Day.

The History of Cup Day

In 1861, the first Melbourne Cup took place. The grand prize was a gold wristwatch and a cash purse. The first cup as part of a main prize was not awarded until 1865. The winner later sold it because they thought it was unattractive.

The Melbourne Cup has been a fixture in the social calendar since the first Tuesday of November. However, it was originally held on various dates in the spring until 1875. The Cup Day Award has undergone a few changes, and the current design was adopted in 1919. The cup had many different appearances before 1919, and in some years, no cup was given out at all.

The Melbourne Cup was originally centered around the race, but as the years went by, fashion and alcohol became the main focus. The AFL grand final is nowhere near the top of the list for the most alcohol consumed at a sporting event.

Here’s a look at what Cup Day will be like in the 21st Century:

  1. Over the spring racing season, Australians are expected to bet up to $1.5 billion.
  2. Fashion is worth up to $52 Million per year.
  3. Between breakfast and dinner, Australians consume the equivalent of 25,000,000 swimming pools of alcohol.
  4. 90% of Australians tune in to Channel 7 every year to watch the racing.
  5. NSW punters bet on average 22% more than other states.
  6. Melbourne Cup brings in approximately 26,000 visitors from interstate and international every year. This boosts the Victorian economy by about $155 million.


10 Little-Known Facts about Champagne

  1. Champagne is only Sparkling Wine if it originates from France.
  2. Chardonnay is used in Champagne, as well as Pinot Noir and Pinot Munier.
  3. The majority of Champagnes are made with multiple grape varieties. If it is labeled non-vintage, it means it was made using more than one vintage.
  4. Vintage wines require at least three years to mature, while non-vintage champagnes take 15 months.
  5. Many Champagne vineyards are owned by small growers that sell their grapes for large houses. However, some growers make and produce their own Champagne.
  6. In 1774, the classic ‘coupe Champagne flute’ was allegedly modeled after Marie Antoinette’s breast.
  7. Champagne is best served at 8-10 deg C
  8. When you pop the cork off your champagne bottle, it will lose its bubbles. These are the ones that give the drink life and the best aromas.
  9. Use hot water to rinse your champagne glasses before using them. Tea towel fibers and cleaning liquid residue can damage the quality of your Champagne.
  10. Store champagne bottles in the dark.

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