Feb 10 2012
Sparkling wine is a favorite choice for many wine enthusiasts, but how is this type of wine made? Sparkling wine starts out using the same process as all other types of wine, with grapes that are picked off the vine and then crushed up. These crushed grapes are then fermented into wine, and with most types of wine the process is almost complete and the wine only needs to age.
Sparkling wines do not stop here though, because after the wine is poured into heavy glass bottles there is a combination of yeast and sugar added so that fermentation occurs. This second fermentation period causes carbon dioxide gas to form, and the cap on the bottle prevents this gas from escaping. This gas is the reason the wine has bubbles.
This is the best process used to make this kind of wine, and it is named Methode Champenoise. This is the traditional method used by the French to produce Champagne. Sparkling wines that are relatively inexpensive may undergo the second fermentation in large vats instead of individual bottles.
After all the added sugar has been consumed by the yeast in the sparkling wine fermentation stops, and the wine contains a residue. Riddling is performed to cause the yeast residue to flow into the bottle neck, and then this is frozen and removed. This is simply shaking the bottles and is performed by a machine today. The sparkling wines are then aged for the desired time before being sold or shipped out to stores and customers.
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