Sparkling Wine making - Traditional Method

March 22, 2017

3 minutes read

 

Sparkling wine is made in different methods around the world.  There is the Traditional Method, Transfer Method & Tank Method. Let’s start with the Traditional Method, the method how Champagne & Cava is made.

 

 

 

 

 

BASE WINE
The first step is to get a base wine. Most sparkling wines are white, so here’s how they make white wine. The winemaker can decide to use different wines from different vintages or grape varieties. With Champagne for example, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir &/or Pinot Meunier grapes have to be used.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2nd FERMENTATION

The right blend of base wines is put into the bottle. Yeast & sugar is added into the bottle. The bottle of wine is sealed & stored to ferment. A reaction inside the bottle takes place, whereby the yeast & sugar ‘’eat’’ each other, resulting in carbon dioxide & alcohol. As the carbon dioxide can’t escaped, it dissolves in the wine, creating the bubbles sparkling wine is known for.

 

 

 

 

 

AGING
After the 2nd fermentation in the bottle, the bottle is aged for some time. This can be months up till a couple of years, depending on the winemaker. During the aging, the lees (dead yeast cells) releases flavours into the wine like bread & biscuit.

 

 

 

 

DISGORGE
During the aging the bottle are riddled. Riddling is slowly turning the bottles a quarter over some time, whereby the lees slowly falling into the neck of the bottle. When the winemaker thinks it’s the right time, the neck of the bottle together with the lees is frozen. The seal is then popped off, removing all the lees.

 

DOSAGE & BOTTLING
Some base wine & some sugar is then quickly added. The bottle is then sealed with the famous crown cork & metal cap, labelled, ready to be shipped. The amount of sugar added with the dosage determines if the sparkling wine will be a Brut or Demi-Sec version.

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