Another first-class passenger, George A. Kessler – a legendary wine merchant from New York- carried with him $2 million in stocks. In 1902, according to author Kolleen M. Guy in When Champagne Became French, Kessler, “Moet and Chandon’s agent in the United States, created an enormous stir in both the American and European press when he managed to substitute a bottle of his firm’s champagne for a bottle of German sparkling wine at the highly publicized launching of the German emperor’s new yacht, the Meteor, in New York.” Thus began the tradition of christening ships with champagne. Four years later, “with touching concern for human suffering,” he donated an entire boxcar of champagne to those affected by the San Francisco earthquake.
From the Day the World was Shocked by John Prostasio. (The Lusitania disaster and its influence on the course of World War 1.)