It takes a lot of work to make that perfect glass of wine. It’s a journey that showcases human ingenuity and nature’s bounty.
Among the most significant developments came in 1903 when an American machine automated glass blowing. Until then, individual artisans hand-blown and crafted items such as the Zalto or Sophienwald wine glasses.
Depending on the style of wine being made, this can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. It is essential to keep an eye on your cuvee and ensure that the sugar is completely converted to alcohol to prevent the formation of tartaric crystals that would cause a gushing sensation when opening the bottle.
Once the wine has been cold stabilized and bottled, the bubbles are formed in the bottle by a second fermentation. Sweet juice from a secondary pick of grapes is added to the base wine and allowed to finish in a bottle, producing bubbles. This process is known as the entr’acte method.
By checking into this website: https://covenantwines.com/, the art of sparkling winemaking comes from the skill of blending wines from different vintages and vineyards. The winemaker must consider how each wine will taste in its current state and how it will age over time. This requires excellent technical knowledge, experience, and an ability to see into the future.
Once the wine has spent much time in contact with dead yeast cells – known as lees – it is disgorged. This process involves placing the bottle upside down into the freezing liquid, which freezes a chunk of yeast in the neck of the bottle; this is called riddling. Then the crown cap is popped off momentarily, and the frozen lees shoot out under pressure from the bottle – usually around 50 to 90 psi (about twice as much as the tension in your car tire).
This is done manually (disgorgement a la ancienne) or, more frequently, using one of many modern disgorging machines. These can remove hundreds of bottles in a matter of hours and do it quickly with minimal loss of wine or effervescence. This allows for the date of disgorging to be marked on the label – and this can tell you a lot about the wines, including how long they have been aged on their lees.
There are several ways to make the fizz when making sparkling wine. Whether it’s the traditional Champagne method, the Charmat or tank methods, or even forced carbonation, each brings its unique style and personality to the final bottle.
Traditionally, base wines are blended into what the French call a cuvée and then bottled with a crown cap for secondary fermentation. Yeast is added, and the wines are aged on their lees (dead yeast) for a period known as tirage.
This method is excellent for wines that would benefit from lengthy lees-aging but don’t have the time to undergo the full disgorgement and riddling process of the Champagne méthode. In the tank method, a cuvée of base wines is transferred into a pressurized tank where the secondary fermentation occurs. This is also a great way to achieve the texture and complexity of aging on lees in less time.
Whether made in the traditional or tank method or by the transfer or entr’acte methods (both of which use base wines that have already been through a first fermentation), once all of the dead yeast have settled and been removed from the bottle (disgorging) and the wine has been cold stabilized and filtered it is time to put it in a clos-like cork with wire hoods. This will keep oxygen from re-entering the bottles and prevent any oxidation.
Once the bottles are topped with these wire hoods and corks, they are filled, capped, and labeled for sale. Some of this work can be done by hand, but it is now automated with machines that fill and check sterile bottles, seal them, add capsules, label them, and box them ready for shipping.
For some sparkling wines, particularly those labeled brut, a small amount of sugar is added before the cork is sealed. This is called the ‘dosage’ and determines how sweet the finished product will be.