Christopher Merrett had studied at Oxford University and practiced as a Doctor of Medicine, becoming a member of the Royal College of Physicians in 1651. He developed an interest in industrial uses of minerals and in 1662 translated Antonio Neri’s 1611 work, The Art of Glass, adding 147 pages from other authors and his own observations.
Merret was also a naturalist who collected
new plants, maintained a herb garden and compiled one of the first lists of the flora, fauna and minerals of England, the Pinax Rerum Naturalium Britannicarum, published in 1666.
But the reason why Christopher Merrett should be in
every wine lover's personal Hall of Fame is that he made the first documented reference to Secondary Fermentation in sparkling wine production. In a lecture on 17 December 1662 he presented Some Observations concerning the Ordering of Wines to
the newly formed Royal Society.
Merret described winemakers adding quantities of sugar and molasses to make the wines "drink brisk and sparkling".