Sparkling wine is usually either white or rosé, but there are some red sparkling wines, such as the Italian Brachetto, Bonarda and Lambrusco and the Australian sparkling Shiraz. The sweetness of sparkling wine can range from very dry "brut" styles to sweeter "doux" varieties (French for 'hard' and 'soft', respectively).
The sparkling quality of these wines may be the result of natural fermentation, either in a bottle, as with the traditional method, in a large stainless steel tank designed to withstand the pressures involved (as in the production of Prosecco), or as a result of simple carbon dioxide injection, in some cheaper varieties.
Effervescence has been observed in wine throughout history and was noted by Ancient Greek and Roman writers, but the cause of this mysterious appearance of bubbles was not understood. Over time it has been attributed to phases of the moon as well as both good and evil spirits.
The tendency of still wine from the Champagne region to lightly sparkle was noted in the Middle Ages, but this was considered a fault and was disdained in early Champagne winemaking. Dom Pérignon was originally charged by his superiors at the Abbey of Hautvillers to get rid of the bubbles, since the pressure in the bottles caused many of them to burst in the cellar.
Later, when deliberate sparkling wine production increased, in the early 18th century, cellar workers would still have to wear a heavy iron mask, that resembled a baseball catcher's mask, to prevent injury from spontaneously bursting bottles.
The disturbance caused by one bottle's explosion could cause a chain reaction, with it being routine for cellars to lose up to 90% of their bottles to instability. The mysterious circumstance surrounding the, then unknown, process of fermentation and carbonic gas caused some critics to call the sparkling creations "The Devil's Wine". (I'm sure it's been called that on many a "morning after" in my house!)