Still wine is the most common to make at home. However, it is possible to make your own sparkling wine too. It takes approximately nine months to create sparkling wine and there are three main stages you’ll need to follow.
Here, you’ll learn the basics of making sparkling wine. As with any type of winemaking, it is better to research as much as you can before getting started. This will help you to achieve the best flavor and results.
Fermenting It Twice
The main differentiating factor between still and sparkling wine is the fermentation process. If you want to make sparkling wine, you’re going to need to ferment it twice.
After the initial fermentation process, you’ll need to add yeast and sugar. When mixed in with the wine, it begins the fermentation process again, only the carbon dioxide produced by the yeast has nowhere to escape to. This causes the wine to become bubbly.
There are actually different methods you can use to create sparkling wine, and it’s worth understanding what they are.
The Traditional Method
The traditional, or champagne, method is the most common method used by wineries. However, it can be expensive and extremely time-consuming for homemade wine.
You’ll carry out the second fermentation stage in the bottle the wine will be stored in. A temporary cap will need to be used until the process has finished. After the yeast has worked, it dies and turns into lees. This will stay in the wine until it is removed. How long you leave it in will determine the taste and texture of the wine.
A process known as riddling is used to remove the lees from the bottle. This is actually quite difficult to do yourself, which is why many people choose to use alternative methods when making their own sparkling wines.
The Charmat Method
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative, the Charmat method is ideal. Named after the person who invented the method, it involves fermenting the wine in a tank, rather than in bottles.
The yeast and sugar are added to the tank and it gets to work much like it does in the traditional method. When it has stopped fermenting, the wine is filtered and then bottled. This method produces a clean, aromatic wine that is easy to drink.
This method is easier to use at home and is much less expensive too. Alternatively, you could use the hybrid method. This involves a mixture of both traditional and Charmat techniques. You’ll carry out the secondary fermentation in bottles, then empty them into a pressurized tank. The sediment can then be filtered before the wine is packaged into bottles.
It is worth being aware of the different sparkling wine methods so you can ensure you are selecting the right one for you. If budget is a factor and you are just starting out, the Charmat method is the best one to use. Try to research everything you can about the method before you get started.