Pop open a bottle of champagne and pour yourself a glass. Take a sip. The elegant surface fizz—a boiling fumarole of rising and collapsing bubbles—launches thousands of golden droplets into the air, conveying the wine's enticing flavors and aromas to tongue and nostrils alike. A percussive symphony of diminutive pops accompanies the tasty mouthful, juxtaposing a refreshing carbonated chill and a comforting alcoholic warmth. Such is the enchantment of bubbly, the classic sparkling wine of northeastern France's Champagne district, a libation that has become a fixture at festive celebrations worldwide. Among the hallmarks of a good champagne are multiple bubble trains rising in lines from the sides of a poured glass like so many tiny hot-air balloons. When they reach the surface, the bubbles form a ring, the so-called collerette, at the top of a filled flute. Although no scientific evidence correlates the quality of a champagne with the fineness of its bubbles, people nonetheless often connect the two. Because ensuring the traditional effervescent personality of champagne is big business, it has become important for vintners of sparkling wines to achieve the perfect petite bubble. More than a decade ago several research colleagues from the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne and Moët & Chandon and I decided to examine the behavior of bubbles in carbonated beverages. Our goal was to elucidate the roles of each of the many parameters that come into play in bubbling. Close observations of glasses filled with sparkling wine, beer and soda revealed their visually appealing outgassing to be surprisingly complex. In the years since, we have learned a great deal about the three main phases of a bubble's life: its birth, ascent and dramatic demise.