Methode Champenoise - How Champagne is Made

Champagne and sparkling wines are made using the Methode Champenoise, a special way of getting the sparkle in the wine. You can read through the Standard Winemaking Process to see first how wines are normally made - this might help you understand better how this process differs from regular creation of wine.

Chardonnay The first, and most important part of any wine is the grapes. Sparkling Wine grapes are grown just as any other grape is - carefully tended and cared for. When fall comes, the grapes are carefully harvested.

The grapes used in sparkling wines are typically Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Gris. Some Champagnes are made solely with Chardonnay.

Tanks The wine is fermented in a stainless steel tank. It ferments for 2 to 3 weeks, and then sits for up to five months. It is at this point that the process diverts from the normal winemaking process and becomes special.

Riddling When the winemaker decides to move forward, the wine is bottled with extra sugar and yeast, and capped with a soda-cap. This process can go from one year to three years or more. When this second fermentation and resting period are over, the yeast and sediment must be removed from the bottle.

Yeast2 The bottles are put into a riddling rack, which slowly rotates the now-re-fermenting wine from a horizontal position up to a vertical one. This allows the sediment from the second fermentation to slowly slide down into the neck of the bottle, for easy removal. Can you see the yeast down by the neck of this one?

Dosage The removal process is called disgorgement. The neck of the bottle is stuck into this machine, which freezes it. When the cap is removed, the frozen plus of sludge is kicked out, a "dosage" of Champagne is added to fill in the space in the bottle, and it is corked with the standard, large Champagne cork.

Note that the cork does not start out in its wide-thin-wide shape - it starts out as a straight 'tube' shape. It is only the pressure and system of corking that gives it its mushroom head and flared bottom.

The Basics of Champagne
Methode Champenoise - How Champagne is Made

Champagne Pairings and Reviews

Champagne History and Information

Champagne Cocktail Recipes

Champagne Cocktail Recipes Ebook

You'll have instant access to over 90 delicious Champagne cocktail recipes from your Kindle, your laptop, your PDA, or any other PDF-viewing system! Perfect for any Champagne cocktail lover!
Champagne Cocktail Recipes Ebook

Our Sangria Recipes include a section on sparkling sangria recipes. These are Champagne Cocktails as well!