Sparkling Wines

Sparkling wines are wines with high levels of carbon dioxide in them. They  are produced in the following methods:

In order to produce a sparkling wine, you first need to produce a still wine. Ideally the still wine will have high levels of acidity and a neutral flavour. There are three different methods of sparkling wine production. The most basic of which is Carbonation. This is where carbon dioxide is pumped into the bottle to create bubbles. For better quality sparkling wine, the aim is to create a second fermentation in the wine to create the bubbles. This can be done in a bottle or in a tank. This second fermentation is achieved by adding a small amount of sugar or un-fermented grape juice and a small amount of fresh yeast to the wine before the container or bottle tank is sealed.

A short period of fermentation will occur during which carbon dioxide will be created. The most common method of second fermentation is the “Tank Method” where the second fermentation takes place in a large stainless steel tank which is sealed under pressure in order for the carbon dioxide to dissolve in the wine to create the sparkle. The most prestigious method of sparkling wine production and the one used for all the best sparkling wines such as Champagne and Cava is where the second fermentation takes place in a bottle. This is a complex and expensive process but generally leads to a finer quality sparkle and a finer quality wine mainly due to the wines extended contact with the dead yeast cell which can impart complex flavours and characters.